The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has expressed concerns about the misinformation surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) across the country.
In an interview, NBA communications officer Sandra Mulowa said aggressive awareness campaigns have to be carried out across the country for the general public to be fully informed on GMOs because some people do not understand what GMOs are.
“On 14th January, we (NBA) had a stakeholders’ engagement and over 40 stakeholders that came that we could also explain and sensitize them on our (NBA) mandate because we have realized that there is a lot of misinformation on GMOs and some of the people that are talking about GMOs may not really understand what GMOs are,” Mulowa said, adding that the sensitization and inspection programmes on GMOs are ongoing.
“We do sensitization with the general public, government officials and some of our stakeholders just make sure they are kept abreast with what we are doing, and if they have any queries then they are on-hand to explain and answer them,” Mulowa added.
She further explained that NBA had MoUs with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), among other stakeholders, at various border points to enhance the NBA’s operations.
“With MoH we have a MoU with them of which they are providing us with 15 health inspections; these are based at point of entry and perform duties of NBA. Also our colleagues, ZRA (at borders) are very much alert,” said Mulowa.
NBA was established under the Biosafety Act No. 10 of 2007.
Through the Act, the NBA regulates the research, development, application, importation, export, transit, contained use, release or placing on the market of any GMO whether intended for use as a pharmaceutical, food, feed or processing, or a product of a GMO also to ensure that any activity involving the use or a product of GMO prevents any socio-economic impact or harm to human, animal health and the environment in the country.