DAR ES SALAAM, May 14 - The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has approved guidelines on handling aid relating to genetically modified foods (GMs) following recommendations by its advisory committee on biotechnology and biosafety formed last year.
According to the guidelines on biotechnology and bio-safety obtained by Zana at the on-going SADC summit on agriculture and food security, member countries recommended that the sourcing of food aid should be within the region.
The region should develop and adopt a harmonised transit information and management system for genetically modified aid designed to facilitate trans boundary movement in a safe and expeditious manner.
Other approved recommendations were that food aid in transit that contained GMOs should be clearly identified and labeled in accordance with national legislation.
"SADC countries managing or handling food aid in transit that may contain (GMOs) are encouraged in the absence of national legislation to make use of the requirements under the African Union model law on bio safety," reads part of the brochure.
The SADC technical committee representing member countries also recommended that donors providing GMOs aid should comply with prior informed consent principle and with the notification requirements in accordance with Article 8 of the Cartage protocol on biosafety.
It added that food aid consignments involving grain or any propagative plant material that may contain GMO's should be milled or sterilised prior to distribution to beneficiary populations.
On policy and regulation, the committee recommended that member states should develop national biotechnology policies and strategies and expedite the process of establishing national biosafety regulatory systems.
Meanwhile, Zambia's Agriculture Permanent Secretary Nicholas Kwendakwema said the need for SADC countries to shift dependence from rain to irrigation was top on the agenda at the on-going meeting.
Mr Kwendakwema said in an interview that member countries felt the need to find measures that would ensure irrigation was taken as an important component of agricultural activities.
He said member countries would recommend to the summit among other measures the water management programmes that would include the daming of rivers and lakes.
And Vice -President Nevers Mumba arrived in Dar-es-Salaam, in the afternoon yesterday amid tight security where he went to attend the SADC extra ordinary summit on agriculture and food security.
Dr Mumba who was accompanied by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Davison Mulela was received at Dar-es-Salaam airport by Tanzanian minister of transport and communication Mark Mwandosya, Zambia High Commissioner to Tanzania Joshua Simuyandi, Zambian High Commissioner to Botswana Cecil Holmes and other Government officials.
Dr Mumba will today pay a courtesy call on Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and will later visit TAZARA headquarters and meet Zambians resident in Tanzania.