GM food aid: Africa denied choice again?

GM food aid: Africa denied choice again?

Making the case for non-GM alternatives for food aid in Angola and Sudan

This publication by the Africa Center for Biosafety, Earthlife Africa, Environmental Rights Action - Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Grain and SafeAge makes the case that non-GM food aid is both possible and desirable. It argues moreover that non-GM alternatives exist at national, regional and international levels, and that donors should make these available to Sudan and Angola.

Concluding that every country has the sovereign right to choose either to accept or reject GM food aid from donors, and highlighting the failure of the World Food Programme (WFP) to learn from previous experiences, the report denounces the 'No Choice' scenario presented to the two countries by the WFP and USAID.

The publication makes several recommendations including:

  • the WFP and all donors must respect international law, regional guidelines and national regulations and restrictions imposed on GM food. The WFP and donors should not question sovereign decisions to impose restrictions on GM food aid
  • the WFP and USAID must immediately stop exerting pressure on the governments of Angola and Sudan and presenting these countries with a misleading scenario of 'No Choice'
  • the WFP and all donors should provide real choices to any country that imposes restrictions on GM food aid. Failure to do so renders the WFP's recognition of the "the Right to Choose" ineffectual. The WFP in the case of Sudan and Angola has a duty to actively seek all possible options for the provision of non-GM food that are in fact available
  • the WFP should put in place mechanisms that enable it to respond appropriately to situations where recipient countries impose restrictions on the acceptance of GM food aid
  • WFP should encourage donors – particularly the US – to provide cash instead of in-kind contributions. WFP and all donors should seek to guarantee and support local purchases of staple foods in recipient countries. Traditional crops such as cassava, groundnuts and beans should be included within food deficit calculations and surpluses available at the local and regional level should also be used as food aid
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