African rejection of hybrid and GMO seeds in favor of heirloom varieties promotes food crisis

| | May 8, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Africa’s seed industry is complex and can be inefficient, with most farmers using the same seeds they have been planting for generations, unlike farmers in the West who use seeds that have been improved to resist drought or disease.

Zimbabwean Edward Mabaya wants to help improve Africa’s seed industry.

One of 10 children, Mabaya is the son of a mother who farmed. Their small farm was successful because she used different kinds of seeds, he said in a Voice of America report.

It was a time when many new seeds were coming into Zimbabwe. Some farmers began to use them and their crop production improved, Mabaya said. His parents used the money earned from those crops to send all their children to school.

Mabaya leads The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), which researches Africa’s seed industry. Launched in March, TASAI is a joint effort of Cornell University, the nonprofit Market Matters, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to VOA.

Large governmental organizations controlled the production of seeds in Africa for many years. Owners of small farms had to buy their seeds from these agencies. But now there is an effort to make seeds from other suppliers available to African farmers, according to VOA.

George Bigirwa says improved seeds can help small farmers increase their production sixfold. Bigirwa works at the Alliance for a Green Revolution, or AGRA, in Africa.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Can Seed Technology Bring Africa Food Security By 2030?

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