Govt formulates biotechnology, biosafety policy

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—Government is formulating a biotechnology and biosafety policy to address the challenges that the crop science industry is facing due to climate change and increase in pests and plant diseases pressure.


Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister, Greyford Monde, disclosed during the official opening of the Croplife Africa Middle East annual conference aimed at sharing ideas in the Industry of Agro Chemicals.


The conference has attracted over 60 Agro chemical industry manufacturers from nine African countries to discuss their regulatory policy.


Mr Monde said the policy will support the development of research and industrial capacity for the enhancement of socio-economic and developmental well-being in the Agro chemical industry.


Mr Monde said the biosafety act is aimed at regulating the research development and application on the market of any Genetically Modified Organism intended for use as a pharmaceutical or product of a genetically modified organism.


He said the Agro chemical industry is playing a vital role in ensuring that farmers receive the latest technologies in pest management that boost agricultural yields.


Mr Monde observed that through the use of such technologies adoption rates among farmers have been increasing.


He said pesticide technologies are cardinal as they reduce weeding time and the cost.


Mr Monde noted that farmers who use herbicides in maize have yields that are four times higher compared to the ones who weed manually.


And Croplife Zambia chairperson, Chola Kamaki, said the new investment in the agricultural sector is encouraging to farmers as it has seen the establishment of renowned chemical companies.


Mr Kamaki noted that the Zambia’s pesticide industry has matured as it has helped developed farmers through improved training on responsible use of pesticides.


He, however, bemoaned the lack of regulation for pesticide registration stating that it has halted further growth of the pesticide industry and restricted the introduction of new and effective products.