Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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No more ‘GMO’ chickens from South Africa, says Zimbabwe

No more ‘GMO’ chicken from South Africa, says Zimbabwe. Now to see if there is such a thing.

Zimbabwe has banned genetically modified chicken from South Africa amid
complaints that producers there are flooding the Zimbabwe market. But South
African producers say there’s no such thing as GMO chicken.

By Savious Kwinika, Correspondent / August 4, 2010
Johannesburg, South Africa

ZImbabwe has banned chickens and all poultry from South Africa, accusing its
southern neighbor of supplying genetically modified poultry.

But what does ‘genetically modified’ poultry mean, exactly?

“The accusations by Zimbabwe that we are supplying genetically modified
chickens are without substance,” says Kevin Lovell, the chief executive
officer of the South Africa Poultry Association (SAPA). “There is no such
thing as a genetically modified chicken anywhere in the world. Even if a
person, a chicken, or a cow for that matter, eats genetically modified maize
that does not make you genetically modified since you cannot change your own
genes by eating food.”

Mr. Lovell accuses Zimbabweans of looking for excuses to avoid having to
compete with the highly efficient and sophisticated South African poultry

“Prior to this action they had attempted to ban imports from South Africa
through false claims of Rift Valley Fever being present on our chickens but
chickens cannot get this disease,” says Lovell. “Then they suddenly changed
their standards with regard to flavor enhancement and now that we have
proved that we comply with the new standard they are looking for another

Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) Chairman, Solomon Zawe, complains that
South African producers are flooding the market, putting Zimbabwean
producers out of work.

“The industry could not recover fully while the chicken imports continued to
flood the market,” says Zawe. “However, the ban has hit major South African
importers who have now resorted to smuggling the imported chickens.”

The chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe-based Crest Poultry Group,
Tapera Mpezeni, says Zimbabwe is addressing the issue.

“Indeed, a short-term shortage of chickens has hit the market, but producers
have already come up with a plan to solve the problem,” he says. “Major
producers have augmented production by importing hatching eggs at a rate of
about 500,000 per week. Combined with local production, the imported
hatching eggs will increase day-old chicks production per week to 1

Lovell sees nothing but irony in that plan.

“The irony of the matter is that we still supply lots of fertile eggs and
day old chicks to Zimbabwe as they do not have enough of their own,” says
Lovell. “So if our adult chickens are genetically modified as the
Zimbabweans are saying that they are then so are their own chickens!”

Lovell says that the South African Poultry Association is now taking the
issue to the South Africa’s foreign ministry.

“Our industry will be taking this matter up at the highest level as we do
not believe that Zimbabwe really wants to do things that will affect a long
standing good relationship between our two countries,” he says.


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