The government of Zimbabwe has reportedly lifted a ban on imports of genetically modified maize for the first time in 12 years to mitigate debilitating grain shortages.
According to Bloomberg, three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the development, saying the genetically modified maize is imported from South Africa, quarantined, and milled into mealie meal.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Ndavaningi Mangwana could neither confirm nor deny the lifting of the ban when contacted for comment by the publication. He said:
Government weighs its position on genetically modified corn against the nutritional needs of the nation and proceeds guided by that assessment.
Zimbabwe is currently battling with the impact of its worst drought in 40 years and is in the midst of an economic collapse.
International humanitarian organisations have estimated the number of people in need of food aid at 8 million, about half the country’s population.