By ALICE NACHILEMBE
The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says the Genetically Modified Maize (GMO) seed detected among seed tested from selected farms has raised anxiety and concerns among farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
ZNFU President Jervis Zimba said that the Union is overwhelmed with queries seeking reassurance that the maize industry GMO free reputation will remain pure, and access to markets will not be affected negatively.
Mr Zimba said while the matter is still under investigation the Union focus is on action that will be undertaken by the regulators, the National Biosafety Authority (NBA).
He said the country has maintained its non-GMO status for many years, and it has been good for the country in penetrating niche markets not just for grain exports but for value added products.
Mr Zimba has appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to be proactive in invoking damage control measures by engaging in free flow of information to farmers by experts on the subject for sensitization.
Therefore, to contain what has happened, the NBA should consider immediate quarantine of the farms where the GMO maize seed has been detected and the surrounding communities should be sensitised to lower the risk of GMO seed being passed on unknowingly.
He said the Union believe that there is need for unity in its efforts to restore confidence to all the players in the maize industry hence all actions should be publicized.
Mr Zimba says to perpetrators, the law of the land should be applied as this was a wanton and destructive act by a few if not one.