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Zimbabwe rejects food aid

 The US Embassy in Harare say Zimbabwe has rejected a donation of 10,000 tons of corn because it was not certified as free from genetic modifications. The food was being distributed through the World Food Programme and charities led by the Christian agency World Vision International. Zimbabwe, together with the rest of Southern Africa is in the grip of serious food shortages. Nearly a quarter of the country's 12.5 million people are at risk of starvation. The World Food Programme says half the population will need food very soon. But a US Embassy spokesman said: "Zimbabwe did not waive its requirement that entering commodities must be certified not of genetically modified origin, or non-GMO." He said that aid workers would continue to bring in food and said the supplies rejected by Zimbabwe had been diverted to neighbouring Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. The food shortages in Southern Africa have been caused by erratic rains and floods and failed harvests. But in Zimbabwe, disruptions caused by the government's seizure of white-owned farms, and new laws forbidding planting in some areas, have contributed to the crisis. A Catholic spokesman said the government was using food as a political weapon. He said: "They are refusing to distribute aid in areas which did not vote for Mugabe."