[I]nfluenced by European environmentalists, most African countries forbid the growing of genetically modified crops. This is a pity, because unless they change their attitude fast, they will face the prospect of using far more pesticides, which small-scale farmers cannot afford, and which come with environmental and safety risks, or suffering famine, relieved by expensive imports of food.
Fortunately, inch by inch Africa is changing its mind on biotech crops, though only South Africa has approved Bt maize. Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya are slowly changing their legislation.
More than half of the two billion people who will be added to the world’s population by 2050 will be Africans. Yet feeding the continent’s growing population, largely from African farms, is possible. And, like Asia before it, Africa can initially prosper through agriculture more than any other industry, but only if there is a green revolution of farming modernisation comparable to what happened in Asia in the Sixties.
Globally, if we had the yields of 1960 we would need more than twice as much land to feed today’s population. In which case, you could kiss goodbye to all rainforests, nature reserves and national parks.
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