Africa-Press – Tanzania. THE government has stepped up measures to control Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), in which, from now onwards, all imported seeds will be inspected at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Mikocheni Centre in Dar es Salaam.
Minister for Agriculture, Prof Adolf Mkenda, issued the directive while visiting the centre for consultative discussion with its staff. He said the government’s move is aimed at controlling illegally imported seeds from other countries.
In the directive, Prof Mkenda had initially instructed TARI to start inspecting all cotton and sunflower seeds sold to farmers, especially to determine their types and get relevant information. “From now on, all seeds being imported into the country must be brought in here for testing, to detect whether they are GMO or otherwise.
“Today (yesterday), is the end… let’s makes sure GMO related seeds do not find their way into the country. Let’s try to be effective and efficient to plug any loopholes that will allow the seeds to be sneaked into the country. “I want a routine test, though there are seeds, which had been imported and already in the market, so let’s collaborate with other laboratories such as the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) to determine their (seeds) nature,” he said.
The minister also directed that any seed consignment being imported must get advance notification and clearance from the government, adding: “Tanzania does not allow GMOs, because we have enough better seeds. We will protect our natural seeds and the government will work together with our research centres to ensure we get better seeds.”
Initially the Director General of TARI, Dr Geoffrey Mkamilo said they will ensure that various technologies are applied to help farmers modernise their farming activities and get good yields. However, he noted that the technologies will be useless and without any contribution to the farmers and other stakeholders in improving the value chain, if they are not shared.