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SD moving towards GM crop farming

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SOUTH AFRICA – The government, through the Swaziland Environmental Authority (SEA), is looking at ways of implementing and regulating genetically modi-fied (GM) crops in the coun-try.

SEA in partnership with the University of Swaziland, took the media on an educational tour of genetically modified crops in Mpumalanga South Africa. The attendees included representatives from almost all broadcast and print media houses, SEA, the University of Swaziland, the Ministry of Agriculture as well representatives from the Swaziland Farmers Union. Speaking during the briefing conference, Stephen Zuke, Director of Policy, Research and Information at the Swaziland Environmental Authority, thanked the media for their role in relaying important information to the public.

The aim of the trip was to educate the media and give them firsthand experience on the issue of GM crops and how South Africa has been successfully growing and regulating their growth.

"Following last year’s workshop on bio-safety, we found it important to bring the media to the actual farms and farmers," Zuke added.

Professor Abednego Dlamini, a UNISWA lecturer, highlighted the benefits of growing GM crops as well as the concerns that arise from the technology.

Some of the benefits included improved crop yields as well as new novel products being created. The concerns, however, included the social and cultural clashes that might arise, possible allergic reactions to products as well as the need for extensive proper regulations to monitor and control this technology.

SEA legal counsel, Constance Dlamini, explained that there was a Bio-safety Bill which is currently still in the process of being discussed in Parliament, which is aimed at providing the necessary regulations for genetically modified organisms in the country.

 

In Swaziland, the areas that might be affected by the biotechnology are in the food and cash crop sector, the animal feed sector as well as the animal hormones sector.

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