African countries and the Philippines have made significant progress in developing genetically modified (GMO) crops, adding impetus to the drive to adopt biotechnology as a tool for fighting food insecurity.
These international strides in conducting research and experimental field trials of GM crops emerged in the fourth week of the Global Leadership Fellowship Program at Cornell University during presentations on the status of biotech in participating countries.
Louis Baraka, an agriculture officer from the Kagera region in Tanzania and one of the 2018 Fellows, said there is an urgent need to create awareness of the improved crops among farmers as the various countries move through different stages of research in biotech.
“There is no doubt that there is a positive move towards adoption of biotech crops, not only in Tanzania but also other African nations,” Baraka said. “However, there is a need to incorporate farmers in every step of research so that they are not left behind.”
Tanzania is currently conducting confined field trials on drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize. That process is expected to come to an end in the next two years, followed by applying for a National Performance Trials (NPTs) permit.
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