What can other African countries learn from South Africa’s experience with GMO crops?

Applying fertilizer on maize

Despite promotion of GM crops, adoption has been slow across the continent. South Africa began using the technology in the late 1990s, but twenty years on it is still the only sub-Saharan country to commercially grow them as a food crop (although Sudan and Burkina Faso grow GM cotton). This is rapidly changing, with Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda all currently carrying out field trials of various GM crops. No commercial release has yet been approved, and it will take time for the technology to reach anything like the levels in South Africa where 2.7 million hectares of GM crops were planted in 2016, the vast majority of which was maize.

Related article:  2018 biotech review: Second generation of GMOs arrives as US anti-GMO movement falters

Yet the technology’s widespread adoption in South Africa has also spurred a significant resistance movement: the annual March Against Monsanto gathers thousands of protesters across the country. Opposition is centred around the safety of eating GM crops, and the widespread spraying of Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup….

Biotechnology will only ever offer partial solutions to food insecurity in Africa. But for those solutions to be effective we need to ask deeper questions about how science is done and, more to the point, who does it. A first step would be to untangle GM crops from multinational corporations and monoculture.


Read full, original post: Can GM crops fix Africa’s food crisis?

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