Government permits traders to import GMO maize


Government has said traders are free to import Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) maize into the country for food or for feed processing.

The Daily Times has learnt that so far no trader has come to government to express interest to import GMO maize into the country, not even state grain trader, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

Secretary for Agriculture, Erica Maganga, has confirmed this development.


This comes amid widespread fears that the importation of GMO maize may bring in strange maize varieties if some recipients use the maize for seed.

She said in case some traders indicate that they wish to import the maize, arrangements shall be made to facilitate its milling on arrival.

“We have done this before and as a ministry, we are confident that with support from other stakeholders like the police, we can or we will do it. No doubt about it,” Maganga said.


She said government opened up to GMO maize because domestic production was not sufficient.

The Daily Times has learnt that two months ago, the ministry approached Department of Environmental Affairs seeking guidance on procedures to follow when importing the maize.

Registrar (Biosafety) in the ministry, Caroline Theka, confirmed this development.

Theka added that in the case of a crisis, the department would provide a letter which will have the conditions of safety information.

“Ministry of Agriculture wants to do things in the right way and that’s what is required. Anyone who wants to import GMO products need to apply for a licence beforehand,” she said.

Five months ago, government revealed its plans to import maize from Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean, Ukraine, Tanzania, and South Africa to feed over six million people who are facing hunger.

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