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Zimbabwe accepts U.S. corn donation

(Aug. 12, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- Zimbabwe and international aid agencies have ended their standoff over a donation of U.S. corn to feed half of the country's 12.5 million people on the brink of starvation.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe refused to accept the corn unless it was milled to avoid any chance of the corn, some of which is genetically engineered, being planted rather than eaten. Were any of those bio-engineered corn kernels to sprout and cross-pollinate with the country's conventional corn, the country's sales to the European Union could be jeopardized. The EU does not accept genetically engineered food products.

The standoff ended with an unusual agreement. It calls for the United Nations' World Food Program to deliver "the 17,500 metric tons of corn from the United States to the Zimbabwean government, which can do whatever it wants with it. In return, the government will give the World Food Program an equal amount of corn kernels stored in that country," according to an Aug. 10 story in The Washington Post. "It was not immediately clear how the Zimbabwean government came to possess the 17,500 metric tons it is now agreeing to trade to the World Food Program..."

See the full story at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1077-2002Aug9.html