Embrace GMOs: PM

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for Zimbabwe to carefully embrace Genetically Modified Organisms as a panacea to the country’s continued food shortages.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

Speaking in Johannesburg at the Agribusiness Conference on Monday, Tsvangirai touched on the subject that has the potential of further dividing opinion in the polarized coalition government.

President Robert Mugabe has, over the years, dismissed any calls for the importation of GMOs, but Tsvangirai suggested at the conference that Zimbabwe and Africa at large could embrace them.

“In the absence of any contrary scientific research, the State should carefully embrace GMO technology in agriculture,” he said.

The Prime Minister added that over the past three years the Zimbabwean government, along with international partners and private financiers, had invested $1.9 billion in the agricultural sector, while budgetary support totals $552 million. Financing from the government almost tripled from $79 million in 2009 to a projected $248.2 for the year 2011.

Even though there has been an increase in investment in agriculture, climate change land insecurity and unresolved land ownership have stalled growth in the industry.

“But any plans for improving agriculture depend on improving the technical, economic, legal and trade conditions under which farmers and agribusinesses operate,” said Tsvangirai. “We certainly need to inject massive capital into research and extension services, particularly in light of global warming and climate change which have redesigned and reshaped the face of agriculture globally,” said Tsvangirai.

Instead of investing in research, however, the Zimbabwean government has been concentrating on supporting communal and so-called new farmers.

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