‘Scaremongering’ turns Tanzanian farmers away from drought, disease resistant GMO seeds

| | September 29, 2015
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“Our farmers are afraid of the new, technologically improved seeds, mainly due to negative speculations surrounding modified inputs and the fact that, extension officers and seed company officials do not bother to reach out to the growers and enlighten them on the advantages of new varieties,” said Kanuti Komba from the Department of Crop Development, in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

Komba was speaking during a special Biotechnology Training Workshop which was conducted in Arusha, to address biosafety in Tanzania and other selected countries on the continent. He was on view that, traditional seeds, usually recycled from one harvest season onto another; were negatively costing farmers.

According to the delegates, this is the result of scaremongers who have been going round telling growers that genetically modified inputs were dangerous to health with some publications going to an extent of labelling them ‘Dracula’ seeds or ‘Frankenstein Monster Food.’

Aghan Daniel, the community and Advocacy Officer at the African Seeds Traders Association (AFSTA), said that most local farmers in East Africa were misinformed and treated laboratory improved variety of seeds as something that the devil made in hell, though many of the inputs withstood weather calamities and diseases in addition to taking shorter time to ripen.

“But the problem is, farmers do not have voice of their own, it usually other people who speak on their behalf and many of these are not even conversant with farming or agriculture,” said the AFSTA official.

Read full, original post: Farmers reject improved seeds

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