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Cablegate: Media Report Food Crisis in Zim and Gmo Food;

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001784

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, INR/R/MR, AF/RA


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR EAID EAGR SENV KPAO ZI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT FOOD CRISIS IN ZIM AND GMO FOOD;
HARARE


1. Under headline "We'd rather starve: Importing of
genetically modified food risky" the
government-controlled daily "The Herald" (08/05)
carried the following op-ed by Isheunesu Magwaza:

2. ". . .Let me point out clearly that genetically
modified (GMO) food has a long smoldering scientific
controversy over risks and benefits. To date there has not
been any detailed analysis of the risks associated with GMO
foods. GMO imports are restricted in European countries
and elsewhere because of environmental and health concerns.
The importation of GMOs would render much maize grown in
Zimbabwe unmarketable to other countries. It is a known
fact that maize shipment from the U.S. is a mixture of
conventional varieties and high tech kernels bearing
bacterial genes to protect against insect pests. These
bacterial genes are a threat to human health and
environment.

". . .If the U. S. has genuine need to alleviate our
country's food shortage, it has to bring in milled
GMO maize thus avoiding pollen drift. It is
inconsiderate for the U. S. to refuse milling the
GMO maize before its importation into Zimbabwe. The
stance by the U. S. food agencies to refuse to cover
the milling expenses raises more questions than
answers. Milling expenses are estimated $1,000 per
metric ton which is not an expense at all for the
giant nation, considering how much it costs to drop
one bomb in Afghanistan. Fellow Zimbabweans
remember when India balked a humanitarian shipment
of genetically modified food, one U. S. official was
quoted as saying `beggars cannot be choosers.' Yes,
beggars cannot be choosers, not of a doomed future!
Fellow Zimbabweans we cannot loose our morals,
dignity, resources and identity for a few GMO maize
grains. It's good to be hungry with a free soul and
clear conscience than to have a full stomach with
contaminated and colonized soul and mind. The
government was right in refusing GMO maize. Food
for thought not death."

WHITEHEAD

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