By Nazrin Gadimova
Azerbaijan will launch check-ups to identify cases of using GMO seeds at grain-growing farms in March 2016.
Azerbaijani legislation bans the import and distribution of genetically modified plants and their inclusion in the state register. The country also enforced criminal liability for the use of GMO in 2015.
Despite these provisions, experts believe that GMO products are widely used in Azerbaijan and stress the necessity to examine the field.
Check-ups will be held in Ganja-Gazakh and Sheki-Zagatala regions where the main large-scale grain-growing farms are concentrated, deputy director for scientific issues of Genetic Resources Institute, Mehraj Abbasov said.
Abbasov added that similar inspections were carried out in Guba-Khachmaz, Lankaran-Astara, Sheki-Zagatala regions in 2014.
"Our inspection did not reveal the use of GMO seeds during the cultivation of corn, soy plants and potatoes,” he added.
Earlier, the Azerbaijani government banned import of the grape, tobacco and cotton goods containing GMO. The orders also forbid production of similar goods in Azerbaijan.
GMOs, which are a result of a genetic engineering process, were created as a solution for countries facing famine and poor land conditions. However, nature-rich Azerbaijan is does not need GMO products and new measures to fight GMO spread in the country are expected to stop the penetration.
Azerbaijan joined the Cartagena Protocol on biological safety in 2005 and has a commitment to prevent the spread of GMOs and their use for commercial purposes. In 2011, the country approved a law on the protection and effective use of genetic resources to protect its population's health and the country's biodiversity.
Together with introduction of “No GMO” label, Azerbaijan is fighting with fake labeling of food products with trustworthy eco markings, prohibiting labeling food products with eco-friendly markings.
The standardization based on the international experience is expected to increase enlightenment of the population and decrease misleading.
Nazrin Gadimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @NazrinGadimova
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