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Tanzania mulls GM crop trials

Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture, Jumanne Maghembe, is backing a plan on approving research on genetically modified crops, the East African reports. The Minister reportedly says the use of the technology would “modernise agriculture and promote balanced economic growth”. The newspaper reports potential legal uncertainties. Discussions are ongoing between the Ministry and the office of the Vice President on whether to authorise the use of GM crops, “taking into account safety legislation … and whether to remove a contestable strict liability clause in the biosafety regulatory framework”. The clause ensures that were GMOs introduced, the companies supplying them would be accountable for any harm to crop yields or the health of consumers, it explains. Three African countries, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt, planted a combined 2.5 million ha of GM crops last year, while trials were carried out in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, and were pending in Malawi ( Agrow No 634, p 15).

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