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July 2009



Zambia's Test Lab Nears Completion
Andy Apel, GMOBelus, July 4, 2009 http://www.gmobelus.com/news.php?viewStory=413

In Zambia 85 percent of the labor force works in agriculture, but this is no breadbasket, nor remotely idyllic. In Zambia, the odds of living past 40 are low. Twenty percent of children are underweight, 32 percent of adults are illiterate, and 42 percent have no access to safe drinking water. The nation's gross domestic product hovers around $3 per day; about $1 per day of that is personal income. Against this backdrop, a $450,000 laboratory for detecting GMOs in Zambia is near completion at the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) in Lusaka.

This madness is so incomprehensible that it verges on the ghastly. But, the mad and ghastly involved are the Norwegian government, which is supplying the money, and the activist group, also funded by Norway, and headed by discredited anti-GM scientists, who will actually be running the lab. 

In the winter of 2002, the technophobes at Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Consumers International pressured the government of Zambia to halt distribution of American-donated genetically modified corn to its starving people. This set off a food riot in Munyama, Zambia, as 6,000 hungry villagers overpowered an armed guard and stormed a warehouse that held biotech corn. 

As a result, US foreign aid chief Andrew Natsios criticized environmental groups as "revolting and despicable" for urging starving nations such as Zambia to reject American corn because of genetic alteration.

 Clearly, European NGOs -- and their governments -- would rather see "business as usual" in Zambia, instead of trying to improve on a desperate situation. Revolting and despicable, indeed.