Farmers in Zambia sceptical of "orange maize"

 

 

30/03/2012

 

 

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Eastern and Southern Africa small-scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) Zambia

ZPA Stand No. 2374, Chongwe Street, Lusaka Show Grounds

Box, 30443, Lusaka, Cell; 0977 828 109

Email; esaffzambia@yahoo.co.uk, esaffzambia@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE

‘‘REVISIT THE SEED POLICY’’ GOVERNMENT URGED

Seed security is key to any country’s aspirations to be food secure, however our country like other developing countries pursuing a liberalised and foreign market system imposed on indigenous farmers has not put in measures to safeguard local (community based) seed production and distribution.

From time immemorial, small-scale farmers especially the women have been the custodians of the seed that they have been saving and improving for over thousands of years and sharing the seeds and their knowledge freely for the benefit of all in society. However, the multinational companies have taken over the seeds of the farmers and mixed it with unrelated species which are doubtful to benefit farmers and consumers.

on 28/03/12, local TV station  ZNBC TV News evening broadcasted a story claiming a new scientific break-through that a new maize seed variety bio-fortified with vitamin A has been released on the Zambian market to tackle Vitamin deficiency as most people just consume white maize meal which is not nutritional. 

This comes as no surprise to farmers as it was foreseen more than ten years ago and is well documented (Seedling Volume17, No.4 of December 2000) that agribusiness companies look at poor people’s challenges as opportunities to make money. Indeed soon we are going to be told to swallow vaccines. We are now in other words being to that you should not eat fruits and other foods that can give you the vital vitamins and nutrients to have a better life; they want to put it all in maize.

The question is, is this the right quick fix solution to hunger and malnutrition? No, this is corporate greed for profits and to put it simply, the denial of everyone’s Right to Food, a universal Human Right for all that requires that everyone has adequate and quality food.

It is sad and unacceptable that greedy and profit hungry multinational corporations are busy planning on how to make profits from the suffering of those in developing Countries and Zambia inclusive.

We therefore demand that;
  1. Government must review the National Agriculture and Seed Policies to safeguard local seeds from the Without seed security there is no food security and a viable future as farmer’s have to depend on seeds with ever rising costs that are not easily available to those in far flung place.
  2. Investigations should be done on the newly introduced orange maize bio-fortified with Vitamin A before it is late on its implications on the environment and to human health as not everyone requires the same dose of vitamin A. We and consumers also need to know how this variety was developed.
  3. The government must promote food diversification and work towards the progressive realisation of the right to food for all, encourage the planting of fruit trees and try to promote appropriate urban agriculture for poor households.

Lastly, we call upon the government not to allow the multinational companies to take over the food production and distribution as doing so means that we shall lose food sovereignty that is cardinal for national sovereignty.

 

Simon Mwamba

Country Coordinator
CELL; +260977 82 81 09 








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