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Non-GM food donated to Zambia

(Monday, Feb. 3, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Lusaka - The World Food Programme (WFP) has donated 80 000 tons of non-genetically modified food aid to Zambia, a spokesperson for the agency said Wednesday.

Meeting top government ministers, WFP special envoy for humanitarian needs in southern Africa, James Morris said 85 per cent of the UN's appeal to donors for 611 million dollars to feed starving people in southern Africa had been met.

Morris added that negotiations would soon be concluded for the remaining amount.

This was the WFP's biggest consignment of non-GM relief food to Zambia since the government rejected 50 000 tons of genetically modified food aid from the US government and ordered it removed from the country last August.

Relations between the Zambian government and the WFP were strained following the rejection of the controversial grain, worsening the food crisis in the country.

President Levy Mwanawasa's government cited health and environmental risks for its refusal of the grain and said it would not allow Zambians to be used as guinea pigs just because of the hunger crisis.

Three million Zambians are faced with severe hunger and aid agencies have warned the situation could get worse with poor rainfall experienced this farming season.

WFP was put in the hot seat over its distribution of GM food aid to drought stricken southern African countries without informing recipient governments.

Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are experiencing critical food shortages as a result of severe drought that swept across the region for two farming seasons.

Source: Sapa-DPA