"Besides the potential negative implications for trade and pricing, GM crops have a range of other potentially negative impacts and, to date, this new technology has not been shown to have any major benefits to justify the risk of introducing it"
Praise for GM maize ruling
News 24, 28 October 2005
Johannesburg - Environmental group Biowatch SA on Friday said it welcomed the moratorium placed on genetically modified (GM) maize imports into South Africa.
There have been no maize imports into South Africa since March 2005.
The grouping also welcomed the study by the department of trade and industry (DTI) to assess the implications which GM maize imports have on SA's trade.
SA was one of the few countries, which allowed the importation of GM maize for commercial purposes, Biowatch said.
The effect of GM maize imports would be to depress the price of maize and also to hinder robust exports to markets abroad where consumers don't want GM products.
The DTI had informed Biowatch SA that the study on the implications of GM maize imports to South Africa was due to be completed early in 2006, said Biowatch SA.
However, the DTI is also conducting two other studies into GM products. One of these was investigating the implications of GM products within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Most SADC countries have rejected GM products.
The other study was looking at the implications for South Africa as an exporter of GM products. "The results of these studies, we suspect, will show that government has to take a much firmer stand on this risky new technology," Biowatch said.
The studies were also likely to suggest that the government should make it easier for farmers who wished to enter the lucrative niche markets in Europe and Asia by putting in place mechanisms for compulsory separation and identification of GM products, Biowatch added.
"We trust the initiative taken by the DTI will be followed by other departments," the grouping said. "Besides the potential negative implications for trade and pricing, GM crops have a range of other potentially negative impacts and, to date, this new technology has not been shown to have any major benefits to justify the risk of introducing it," said Biowatch.