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Saturday 15 May 2004

Food aid: channel for GM crop< Concerned about the environmental risks of biotechnology, the Angolan government has announced a ban on genetically modified (gm) food aid. As a result, almost 2 million people might go hungry in the southern African country. While there is no famine in Angola, food is scarce and expensive. Its stance may force a shipment of 19,000 tonnes of maize from the us to turn back. In fact, most of the 400,000 tonnes of food aid the un world food programme planned to distribute in Angola over the next two years was to come from us farms which produce huge surpluses of gm maize.

Angola's decision has revived the row over poor countries' food shortages and gm technology, which has divided Europe and the us. The latter wants overseas funds to fight hiv/aids and malaria, in exchange for gm crops and food. Given that the eu has imposed a moratorium on growing or importing transgenic food because of fears about environmental and health risks, African nations among others have become a dumping ground. Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho also banned unmilled gm seeds last year.

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