Viewpoint: As most of Africa ‘dilly-dallied,’ Sudan, South Africa boosted food production with biotech crops

GMO maize farm in South Africa. Image credit: Reuters
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Why are South Africa and Sudan ahead of every other country on the continent when it comes to biotech?….The nations realized early on that they needed to embrace new technologies to develop….disease-resistant and drought-tolerant crop varieties to counter a changing climate and soils rapidly losing fertility.

So as the rest of Africa dilly-dallied about proceeding with biotechnology….scientists and political leaders in the two countries understood the benefits and were soon busy welcoming in a new era that aimed to produce enough food to eradicate hunger across the globe.

[An] August 2018 report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) indicated the two countries led in biotech cultivation on the continent, with South Africa among the world’s top 10 countries planting more than one million hectares of GM crops….Sudan, on the other hand, grew 192,000 hectares of pest-resistant biotech cotton in 2017, up from 120,600 hectares the previous year. That represents a 59 percent increase….

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Unlike the rest of Africa….the powers that be in South Africa and Sudan are very open minded and have given the nod for their countries to go biotech, [Daniel Otunge, former coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB)] said.

The rest of Africa needs to stop listening to “speculative propaganda” by activists against GMOs, and focus on realities like “climate change, population pressure and poverty”….he said.

Read full, original article: Why South Africa and Sudan lead the continent in GMO crops

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