Facing drought, Africa ‘doesn’t need handouts, needs technology like GMOs’

| | October 15, 2015
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My continent of Africa is suffering its worst drought in a generation. The failure of the African skies to pour nourishing rain onto the soil could cost millions of people their lives.

Drought can affect farmers anywhere. The drought in California has devastated farmers in an area world famous for its agricultural productivity. The United States, however, is a developed nation — the drought has caused hardship but nobody expects it to lead to large-scale malnutrition and starvation.

Things are different in Africa, with no simple solutions to its agricultural dilemmas. Farmers I work with lack access to credit, land and labor. Many suffer from illiteracy, poor management skills and bad or nonexistent infrastructure. The delivery of extension services is skewed. And although agriculture is essential, it’s held in low regard.

One major problem is that we don’t benefit from the latest technologies. From Africa, we look at North and South America farmers with envy, wishing we could use the same genetically modified organism (GMO) tools to overcome weeds, pests and drought they have access to.

We don’t need handouts from wealthy countries. We just need the same opportunities to succeed.

Africa’s current drought has not yet touched Ghana, but it stretches the full length of our continent. The United Nations predicts that more people in Ethiopia will need food assistance next year than in war-torn Syria.

That’s how bad things are for food security: It’s like living in a war zone.

Read full, original post: Another view: Africa’s farmers need tools to succeed

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