IDS working papers;190

Contexts for regulation : GMOs in Zimbabwe

Published on 1 January 2003

This paper looks at the regulation of biotechnology in Zimbabwe. It argues that key uncertainties in
biosafety debates are context specific; this means that locally-developed, flexible regulatory systems are
more appropriate than the standardised, internationally harmonised, solely science-based forms of riskassessment
often advocated for developing countries. The paper begins with a brief examination of the
development of regulatory institutions in Zimbabwe. It then looks at biosafety regulation in practice
through two case studies, field testing of GM maize and cotton, and safety assessment of GM food aid
imports. A final section moves to consider the limitations of the existing regulatory process and identifies
challenges that exist for effective regulation in a small, agriculture-dependant country such as Zimbabwe.

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