For more than 6 years in a row Zambia has been experiencing bumper harvests in it’s maize crop.The forces driving this increase remain widely debated. One thing that stands out for sure is that Zambia rejected GMO maize despite international pressure. Other southern African countries that embraced GMO maize have been seeing a decline in their maize yields.
Despite having Genetically modified maize that is drought resistant, South Africa reaped the smallest harvest since 2007 this year due to the drought brought by the global El Nino weather pattern.In 2014 the South African Government launched two new strains of drought-resistant maize to farmers which scientists said would survive on far less water than regular natural mealie crops and held the promise of ending hunger for the poor.Results speak for themselves.The FAO reported a sharp production decline with the South African maize output forecast at 7.7 million tonnes,28 percent down from the below?average 2015 harvest.
Other countries like Malawi and Zimbabwe have also seen a decline in their maize yields over the years.
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Arusha protocol which the PF government signed makes it illegal for farmers to save, reuse and exchange seed amongst themselves as they have always done. Zambia and other members of ARIPO will be reviewing the draft regulations for the implementation of the ARIPO protocol from 14-17 June 2016 in Harare Zimbabwe. A significant portion of these draft regulations are targeting farmers in a manner that is unduly punitive and intent on extorting the small scale farmer to the point where the country is in danger of losing all the progress made so far where small scale farmers have contributed massively to food production including maize which is now even available to countries around us that have maize deficits.
Zambia would do well to follow the adage- If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. On October 24th 1964 Zambia became a sovereign nation and Zambia needs to do whatever it takes to protect it’s sovereignty and not give in to so called investors who do not have Zambia’s best interest at heart.
Quote from Rwanda’s New Times
Africa has all the ingredients (ample land, fertile soils, abundant rains and the most clement weather, etc) not only to be food secure, but to feed the world as well. The basics are there and we do not need to poison our environment with things like GMO to produce that food. What we need are better and more modern agricultural policies and practices, including effective farmer extension services, better land management practices, access to affordable farm credit, better harvesting and storage practices, micro agro processing factories to convert surplus farm produce to marketable products in situ, and improved infrastructure to serve rural food producing areas. Don’t kill our food capabilities with GMO poison that will also shut our agricultural products out of many markets where they have banned anything with GMOs. Plus you cannot be food-secure by handing control of your seeds to the likes of Monsanto, Du Pont or Bayer (notice all of them are chemical companies like Union Carbide of Bhopal infamy, not people you should be handing control of your food source to, despite what their public relations people, including in academia may be whispering in your ears).