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Seed trials’ delay worries Parliament

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The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has called on the government to hasten trials for the genetically modified seeds, whose results would determine Malawi’s position on its use.

Chairperson for the committee, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said this at a stakeholders meeting orginised by the Seed Trade Association of Malawi (Stam) in conjunction with the African Seed Trade Association in Lilongwe.

He said some researchers are worried over delays by seed certifying entities in government.

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Malunga then said the development continues to affect food production in the country.

“We are going to engage all the stakeholders involved and discuss the way forward,” Malunga said.

Stam Chairperson, John Lungu, said the delay is affecting seed manufacturing companies in the country.

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He then called on other stakeholders in the agriculture sector to join forces in ensurng the process is quickened.

“The government has supported the formation of seed companies over the years, but, now, it is not fully supporting us in terms of new technology. We are afraid we will soon be reporting closure of most of these companies,” he said.

Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson, Osborne Tsoka, said the government is currently evaluating performance of the seeds.

Tsoka said the process would require accuracy.

“On the safety part, we have done it and we are now evaluating the performance of the products we are researching on. It is not just a matter of having a product that can withstand pests but we also need to go beyond by looking into other factors like yields,” he said.

In recent years, the country’s agriculture sector has been susceptible to effects of climate change.

The sector’s input to the economy has continued to dwindle and food production has been greatly affected by floods and drought among other effects.

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