Sudanese Authorities Seize ‘Illegal’ GM Soybean Shipment

Posted on Jan 6 2014 - 5:47pm by Sustainable Pulse

Sudanese authorities have seized a shipment of genetically modified (GM) soybeans at Port Sudan harbour, stating that it is currently ‘illegal’ to import GM foodstuffs into the country. It has not been confirmed where the GM soybeans came from but according to a Sustainable Pulse source in the country they are from the US.

This move comes one week after the Sudanese Customer Protection Society (SCPS) called on the Sudanese government to hold discussions on the issues surrounding genetically modified foodstuffs. The SCPS supports a complete ban on GM foodstuffs in the country.

Environmental activists, religious organizations, public interest groups, professional associations, scientists and government officials have all raised concerns about genetically modified foods in Sudan. They have also criticized agribusiness for pursuing profit without concern for potential hazards, and the government for failing to exercise adequate regulatory oversight.

Sudanese journalist Muawad Mustafa Rashid stated Tuesday; “The question that poses itself is why should Sudan, with all its fertile lands, import genetically modified foodstuffs while it is possible to plant natural seeds and compete in the international market, considering that the prices of natural foodstuffs are very high compared to the genetically modified ones? There is no need for Sudan to use genetically modified food considering its vast arable lands.”

“Why don’t the concerned authorities issue a clear decision in banning the importation of genetically modified seeds or foodstuffs? There is a practical experience about the risk of the genetically modified cotton seeds which were given to the cattle in Gezira State as fodder; as it resulted to the deaths of hundreds of the cattle. Sudan should ban genetically modified crops.” Rashid concluded in Sudan Vision.

Sudan has long been a target for the biotech industry.  In 2007  Sudan was involved in a scandal over GM food aid for the Darfur region. The Sudanese authorities blocked the import of 100,000 tonnes of GM sorghum ‘food aid’ from the US but were eventually forced to take it following international pressure.

In 2004, according to testimony made by USAID before the Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Africa in the U.S. House of Representatives, USAID stopped all further food aid shipments to Port Sudan because the Sudanese Government had asked that US commodities be certified free of GMOs.

When this issue first arose in May 2003, USAID informed the Sudanese Government that the United States did not (read: would not) provide such certifications but instead sent a team to Khartoum to lobby and reassure the Sudanese government on the issue.

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2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Brian John January 6, 2014 at 18:16 - Reply

    The US will keep on doing this, and using political and economic blackmail as part of the process. The main beneficiary of US Aid programmes is US industry — and that will not change until countries like Sudan stand firm against these despicable tactics.

  2. Anthony Samsel January 6, 2014 at 21:06 - Reply

    US AID is an arm of the US Sate Department who uses US ambassadors and taxpayer money to market GM technology for Monsanto and other biotech companies around the world.

    It is the US State Department that promotes the industrial military complex’s agenda and it is that agenda that needs a good flushing out by the people. It is their policies that have destroyed America in the eyes of the world. It is their policies that have led the US into wars fought for the oil, gas and mining industry. It is their policies that promote the industrial biotech model which must be stopped. It is their policies that are destroying the planet.

    I applaud all countries who reject and send US GM technology back from whence it came. Real Americans must now dismantle the corporate machine.

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