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Zambia Rejects U.N. Appeal
Aug 25, 2002, Guardian UK
LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) - The Zambian government has rejected a U.N. appeal to distribute genetically modified food, saying it would procure enough other grain to feed its starving people.
Aid agencies estimate that almost 2.5 million Zambians are in danger of starvation if they do not receive urgent aid.
"We have the situation under control," said Zambian Agriculture Minister Mundia Sikatana. "We don't need to engage the biotechnology at this stage." MORE...
Sikatana dismisses WFP's claim that 2.5m Zambians will die from hunger
Aug 25, 2002, By Brighton Phiri, www.zamnet.zm
ZAMBIA - IT'S unfair for World Food Programme (WFP) to claim that 2. 5 million Zambians will die from hunger, said agriculture minister Mundia Sikatana yesterday.
Reacting to WFP interview with BBC, in which the organisation claimed that 2.5 million Zambians will die from hunger, Sikatana said WFP claims were not justified.
Sikatana, who was addressing MMD and opposition cadres who defected to the ruling party at State House, said WFP report was misleading.
"This is unfair. What makes them believe that 2.5 million Zambians will die from hunger?"
Sikatana asked. "Why are the Americans insisting on giving us genetically modified food (GMF)? Why are they growing non-GM crops?" Sikatana said Zambians where not beggars. "I am saying to the Americans, please give us support but don't force us on GMOs," he said.
Sikatana assured Zambians that government would do everything possible to ensure that no one died from hunger. "We will feed all starving Zambians. Government will not allow anybody to die from hunger," he said. Sikatana disclosed that China had offered Zambia 4, 500 metric tonnes of food. Sikatana said it was high time Zambians decided what they wanted to grow.
"We should be ashamed of buying bananas from across the country," he said. Sikatana wondered why the previous government closed Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) if it was serious with food security.
He announced that fertiliser would this year be distributed to farmers not later than September 30. "I will be behind your shadows to ensure that fertiliser is not sold and that there is early planting.
Tizakumana (we shall meet)," he said. Sikatana said his statements on food security were not political. "Political statements are found where there are elections like in Kabwe and Msanzala where our minister has lost his seat," he said.
Sikatana disclosed that his ministry would soon embark on an exercise of planting crops in ministers and MMD national executive members' backyards. "We will adopt that motto...those days we used to say Wakana ponona (beat whoever refuses)," Sikatana said.
"Zambians must feed themselves, failure to which I will continue calling you and me lazy people."
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