Angola bans genetically modified imports

Published Jan 24, 2005


Luanda - Angola has banned the import of all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) except for food aid destined to feed its hungry, state run news agency Angop reported on Monday.

"The decree establishes the prohibition of the introduction into (Angola of) any variety of transgenic or genetically modified seeds and grains, except those destined for food aid," Angop said after the decision by the Council of Ministers.

Nearly three years since a 27-year civil war ended in April 2002, around a million Angolans still rely on United Nations food handouts for their survival.

The United Nations has embarked on a vast project to distribute seeds to rural areas to help families become self-sufficient.

"All imports of food aid in the form of grains or seeds that have been genetically modified must be milled straight after they arrive in the country and before they are distributed to beneficiaries," Angop said.

Some other countries in the region, including Zimbabwe, have banned genetically modified maize from entering the country but allow maize meal made from GM crops.

Leading regional producer South Africa does grow genetically modified maize - designed to be hardier than naturally occurring crops - but pockets of the country remain GM free.

South African analysts say emerging producer Zambia has not taken to using GM maize, primarily to avoid closing off markets that refuse to take GM produce.

Neither Angola's government nor the UN were immediately available for comment.

The use and import of GMOs for the purpose of scientific investigation in Angola would be subject to rules still to be approved by the farm ministry, Angop said.

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