Africa's inevitable walk to genetically modified (GM) crops: opportunities and challenges for commercialization
High relative poverty levels in Africa are attributed to the continent's under performing agriculture. Drought, low-yielding crop varieties, pests and diseases, poor soils, low fertilizer use, limited irrigation and lack of modern technologies are among the problems that plague African agriculture. Genetically modified (GM) crops may possess attributes that can help overcome some of these constraints, but have yet to be fully embraced in the mix of technology solutions for African agriculture. Cognizant of this, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt are steadily growing GM crops on a commercial scale. Countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda are increasingly field-testing these crops with the view to commercialize them. These countries show strong government support for GM technology. Progress by these first adopter nations provides an insight as to how GM crops are increasingly being viewed as one of the ways in which the continent can invigorate the agriculture sector and achieve food security.
► The application of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within a technology mix can improve Africa's agricultural productivity. ► Africa took a long time to embrace GMOs primarily due to lack of political support or ‘will’. ► South Africa, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria – the six first adopter nations are showing political support for GM technology. ► These nations have pro-biotech legislations, public awareness strategies and approved GMOs for field-testing.
Journal: New Biotechnology - Volume 30, Issue 2, 25 January 2013, Pages 124–130