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National Policy Regarding Commercial GM Imports and the Potential Farm-Level Impact of GM Crops - Mauritius (RABSAC - Phase II)
2006
Harris Neeliah


Abstract

This report presents the findings of a two-pronged study. In the first part the national policy regarding commercial GM imports was assessed, while the second looked at the potential farm-level impacts of commercially producing GM sugar cane, potato and maize locally.

Being a net food importer, Mauritius sources most of its food supply from the world market. These traditional imports are well regulated, but such procedures are not specific enough for those of genetically modified (GM) origin. The GMO Act 2004 was consequently introduced to fill this legal void. But section 7 of the GMO Act 2004, which specifically demands a GMO permit for the import of GMOs has not yet been proclaimed. Therefore, to date, the import of GMOs does not require a GMO permit.

The second part of the study makes an ex-ante assessment of the potential farm-level impact of commercially producing GM sugar cane, potato and maize. The production of Basta-resistant sugar cane could present some cost-saving advantages under certain circumstances. But it was also acknowledged that other weed management strategies must be developed and adopted in parallel to better treat the diverse weeds that infest our sugar cane fields. Potato virus y (PVY) is a major constraint to local seed production as it hampers seed potato production and can result in yield losses of up to 20%. Efforts must therefore be sustained to produce a PVY-resistant potato seed to consequently improve seed yields and bring down the cost of potato seeds. Maize is not produced locally to be dried, rather it is consumed as sweet corn and green cob. It is concluded that is more economically rational to import comparatively cheaper grain maize from the world market for further processing.

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