African countries have long maintained some of the strictest regulations on genetically modified agriculture, with only four out of 47 countries across the continent allowing the planting of any genetically modified crops. Some countries, including Kenya and Nigeria, are mulling looser restrictions on imports and cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, but those moves will have limited significance for food security, says Robert Paarlberg, an adjunct professor of public policy at Harvard University who specializes in global food and agricultural policy.
In an interview, he explains why African countries maintain a cautious approach toward GMOs and why that is unlikely to change anytime soon ….
[World Politics Review]: Why do GMO crops remain illegal in almost all African countries?
Paarlberg: The simplest explanation is that Africa has followed Europe’s lead in its regulatory approach to this technology. European practices are ventriloquized to governments in Africa through a number of channels, first through trade connections. African countries export a lot of agricultural products to Europe, and they conclude that if European consumers don’t want to purchase these products, it’s safer not to plant them at all ….
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