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    A pest-resistant strain of genetically modified potato, earmarked for possible commercial release in South Africa, will be of no use to local spud farmers, said the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) this week. It will also increase risk to the farmer in an already volatile agricultural sector.

    This statement was in response to the Agricultural Research Council’s (ARC) application for permission to release the potato commercially.

    A formal objection was made by the ACB to the Department of Agriculture (DoA) this week, and includes concerns expressed by key industry players, namely Potato SA, McCain Foods Limited, McDonald’s, Spur, Simba and Fruit &Veg City. ACB director Mariam Mayet said the organisation objected to the proposed “general release” of the tuber moth resistant potato, SpuntaG2, for which the ARC was seeking permission to release under the Genetically Modified Organisms Act.