African farmers could boost crop yields with GMO seeds—if their governments would let them

ugandafarming
Credit: Matthias Mugisha

An air of Malthusian gloom hangs over smallholder farmers in Sironko, in eastern Uganda. In the old days, they say, their parents reaped plentiful harvests from fields fed with manure. Now the soil needs to be coaxed into life with chemical fertilizers they cannot afford …. The weather has become erratic ….

So there is something unusual about Ruth Akello, who lives just down the road …. [S]he [has] grown 100 bags [of corn] this year …. and sold almost all of it. Her neighbors use old-fashioned methods of farming, she explains. “But me, I use the modern way.”

Related article:  Regulators in Kenya certify safety of GMO disease-resistant cassava

One crucial difference between Ms Akello and her neighbors is the seed she uses. Whereas most smallholders keep some of the previous year’s crop to plant …. she buys improved hybrid seeds. Her plot hints at the huge difference that modern seeds can make to the lives of Africa’s hundreds of millions of farmers. It also raises a question: why don’t more people plant them?

Read full, original article: Better seeds could help African farmers grow far more

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