By Teresa Anderson
Why are US funded food aid agencies putting pressure on African governments to accept Genetically Modified food? Teresa Anderson investigates.Up to 15 million people in six countries in Southern Africa are currently facing famine. Aid agencies desperately need assistance to source and deliver food. So why has the US donation of 500,000 tonnes of maize been rejected by Zambia, and only accepted with reluctance by the other nations?
The answer lies in the possible effects that the US Genetically Modified (GM) grain could unleash on African agriculture, economies and health. And the increasing suspicion that US food donations are being used as a tool to force GM on to the African market. African nations have so far refused commercialization of GM crops, but could be forced to accept the inevitable if local stocks become contaminated with modified genes.
When food shortages became imminent back in June, the World Food Programme (WFP) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) refused to respond to Southern African nations' requests for GM-free food aid.
The United Nations' own figures show that there are hundreds of thousands of tonnes of GM-free sources of food available around the world. But the WFP and USAID spent those valuable months trying to force recipient nations to accept the GM grain donated by the US, instead of looking to source elsewhere. Only now, nearly half a year later, are they starting to respond to Zambia's needs, while publicly blaming the Zambian government and green groups for the hunger that Zambians now face.
Critics of the USAID/ WFP position suspect that there may be another agenda behind the offer of food aid, and this is essentially threefold: READ MORE