GMO research on African crops shows promise

Over five decades ago, the world experienced a striking breakthrough in agriculture, the Green Revolution. This saved at least a billion lives from starvation in Asia and Latin America and included the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, and the distribution of hybridised seeds, synthetic fertilisers, and pesticides to farmers. Africa missed this boat.

But a new, albeit very controversial controversial, opportunity has presented itself in the form of genetically modified (GM) foods in recent years.

In Africa, there are approximately 265 million undernourished people, translating to one out of every three persons. This is set to increase rapidly – by 2030 the continent will need to feed 1.5 billion people and 2 billion by 2050. This is a monumental challenge for a continent whose food production is highly threatened by environmental fluctuations and land degradation.

Enhancing crop yields, instead of increasing cultivated area, to meet the demands of this rapidly growing society are crucial. Yet considering all of these risks, the pace with which African nations are adopting GM foods is lagging.

In 2008, Burkina Faso and Egypt joined South Africa and started growing commercial biotech crops. Today, these three nations are the only ones in commercial production. There are seven countries involved in confined field testing – Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi – and only 14 doing contained research.

Here are a few of the GM foods that could transform the continent, and the way it eats:

Read full, original article: There is war over Genetically Modified foods, but they might just ‘save’ Africa

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