The Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) said it cannot conduct Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs) test because of lack of machinery.
SCCI Chief Seed Officer, Marble Simwanza, attributed this to lack of modern equipment as GMOs have a foreign genetic trait characteristic to be detected when conducting such a test.
Mrs. Simwanza says government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives (MACO), instead takes samples to South Africa where GMO tests are conducted because they cannot be done in Zambia.
Mrs. Simwanza was speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today.
She, however, said other seed tests can successfully be done in the country such as seed health, analytical purity, germination capacity, moisture content, seed size and uniformity.
She said seed testing is officially conducted at the main seed testing laboratory in Chilanga while SCCI has five other seed testing satellite stations in Eastern, Western, North-western, Copperbelt and Northern Provinces.
She disclosed that private seed testing is conducted at ZAMSEED and Dunavant laboratories respectively.
Mrs. Simwanza explained that the primary function of seed testing stations is to evaluate the quality of seeds in ensuring that farmers get the best seed when they plant.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Simwanza has cautioned seed companies selling seed that they risked being de-registered if they abrogate the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) rules and regulations.
According to Mrs. Simwanza, any seed company should sign the Orange Certificate Agreement Form before exporting any seed abroad.
She said the form binds the exporting and importing country together in ensuring that all seed tests were conducted in uniformity to international standards.