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Viewpoint: GMO crops can empower smallholder women farmers in Africa

Efforts to get products of modern agricultural technologies, such as GM crops, into the hands of farmers have so far been stymied by the absence of an enabling national policy. Uganda’s National Biosafety Act, passed by Parliament in October 2017, was referred back to lawmakers by President Museveni, who cited concerns that he felt needed to be addressed.

Such political deadlocks only serve to accentuate the quandaries faced by small-holder farmers, the majority of whom are women, in developing the country’s agriculture. By blocking or limiting access to innovative agricultural technologies, not only is the government of Uganda stifling agricultural progress but also going against contemporary efforts aimed at gender equality, inclusion and social justice.

Female farmers … cannot achieve gender parity on their own. Uganda and other sub-Saharan African governments need to reaffirm their commitment to empower the female face of agriculture. Facilitating equitable access to agricultural technologies is a key component of the growing global momentum toward gender equality and its associated benefits. For small-holder farmers … this access also could mean the difference between food security and hunger.

Editor’s note: Joshua Raymond Muhumuza is a research assistant with Uganda Biosciences Information Center

Read full, original post: Access to ag tech key to empowering women in sub-Saharan Africa

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