MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE
INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

 


IFP SAYS THERE SHOULD BE A MORATORIUM ON THE INTRODUCTION OF 
FURTHER GMO CROPS OR PRODUCTS

May 24, 2005

South Africans are in the unfortunate position that there is complete polarisation in the debate around genetically modified organisms into pro's and antis.

This is not a debate for politicians but is one which should be influenced by science and scientists. No lesser objective bodies than the American Academy of Sciences, various agricultural associations in Europe and the British Medical Association warn that there are inherent dangers in the use of GMO's. They claim that some countries are introducing crops and foods for consumption more rapidly than they understand the consequences.

We cannot deny the fact that:

. Genes are switched on and off in harmonious ways to maintain balanced eco systems and health, or in unnatural ways to trigger possible activation of harmful proteins like prions that cause mad cow disease.

. Ecosystems are disturbed by super bugs and super weeds and with them natural diversity essential for survival is compromised.

. Genes can be transferred horizontally into indigenous species, altering the way they behave.

. Use of GMO's in agriculture can drastically affect small-scale farming in a negative way,

. Licences have been granted for crops in South Africa, which have been refused in other parts of the world.

. Regulatory mechanisms monitoring GMO plants imported or grown in South Africa are weak.

Therefore, the IFP calls on the Ministers of Agriculture, Environment and Trade and Industry to hold a transparent debate with all interested parties leading to amendments to the GMO Act, better paper trailing of GMO's and monitoring thereof. Until such time that there is adequate risk assessment or monitoring in South Africa, there should be a moratorium on the introduction of further crops or products in the country.

Contact:
Dr Ruth Rabinowitz, 082 579-3698