Genetically modified maize, which was rejected by the Zambian government, has been looted by hungry villagers.

The government rejected the food-aid maize on health grounds and concerns that the genetically modified maize could contaminate the country’s crops, thus jeopardising exports to the EU, which will only buy guaranteed GM-free maize.

A number of villagers form Monze, a small town in the Southern province of the country, looted a room where around 500 bags of the GM maize was being stored.

Severe drought in southern Africa has meant that more than two million people currently face starvation in Zambia. The southern province is the region that has been hardest-hit by the famine.

The Zambian government responded to news of the looting by promising to send some non-GM food-aid to the area, reported Agence France-Presse.