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Should Genetically Modified Crops Be Considered For Africa’s Food Security?

bunch of ripening bananas on a tree Skeptics have a right to question the role of biotechnology in global food security. But they are wrong to ignore the growing evidence of the potential contributions that biotechnology can make toward new challenges such as climate change, which will require new technological responses.

Food security depends on four interrelated factors: quantity of food, which involves increasing agricultural productivity; access to food, which is determined both by income levels and quality of infrastructure; nutrition; and overall stability of the food system, such as resilience to shocks.

Genetically-modified (GM) crops or any other breeding methods on their own cannot solve the challenges related to food quality, access to food, nutrition or stability of food systems. But their role cannot be dismissed for ideological reasons.

GM crops already benefit smallholder farmers in several major ways. For example, they help farmers control pests and disease. This leads to higher production and increased income, which in turn provides them with increased ability to consume more nutritious food.

Let us take the example of pest-resistant GM cotton. Although GM cotton is not directly consumed, it indirectly contributes to food security by raising household income levels and improving access to more nutritious food.

A recent study published by Plos One found that households in India growing GM cotton consumed significantly more calories. Each hectare of GM cotton increased total calorie consumption by 74 kcal per adult equivalent per day. Furthermore, a smaller proportion of households are food insecure (7.93 percent of adopting GM cotton households compared to 19.94 percent of non-adopting households.

The study also showed that GM cotton adoption led to consumption of more nutritious foods – such as fruits, vegetables and animal products. The authors estimate that if the households that do not currently grow GM cotton switched, “the proportion of food insecure households would drop by 15-20 percent.”

These studies do not justify the widespread adoption of GM crops to address food security, but they show that under certain conditions, the technology has the potential to contribute to increasing farm incomes which in turn gives farmers the opportunity to raise their food purchases. It is therefore a mistake to argue for their exclusion without giving farmers a chance to make their own choices.

The ability of farmers to benefit from GM crops is closely linked to their ability to access new technologies. It has often been argued that the control of the global seed industry by a small number of large multinational corporations is a threat to food security. The problem is not simply the presence of large corporations but the low level of the development of domestic seed firms. Such local firms can help focus on indigenous crops. They can also play key roles as business partners with foreign farms.

Africa has been a major focus of the concern that foreign firms are likely to undermine food security through their control of seed technology. However, a recent study, Planting the Seed of a New Green Revolution for Africa, shows that the continent’s seed sector is dominated by local start-ups, not foreign multinational firms.

In fact, local African scientists are at the forefront of using biotechnology to solve local problems. For example, researchers in Uganda are using biotechnology to control the xanthomonas banana wilt. By transferring two genes from green peppers, scientists were able to grow highly resistant bananas.

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3 thoughts on “Should Genetically Modified Crops Be Considered For Africa’s Food Security?

  1. I read Bill Gates, Microsolf man is heavly invested in GM food growth, in Africa. I am also aware Bill Gates is involved in something called Eugenics, a process that has been used for population control, and other reasons. I am aware that immunization in Africa, Bill Gates is highly involved, and that over forty thousand African children came down with deadly diseases after being inoculated for polio, or some other disease, by Bill Gates immunizations program. Google it. Having said that, I do not trust Bill Gates. African leaders need to get him and other white coorporations out of Africa with GM food growth, at least until we learn more about GM foods. Even though most of the food in regular food stores are GM these days, and most American states have not required these corporation to let us know these foods are GM. The word population control, what is that all about, and where are they looking to control the population, we go back to what I said earlier, the people they see as a burden to society, that is not the case in Africa, but they want Africa desperately, and from what I see, if some miracle event does not happen to save Africa, they will be coming to take Africa completely, by any means necessary. If America is going to fall, do the government need population control? Who are eating these GM foods the most? Poor people, and middleclass, the rich people are not, they go to whole foods. People this is food for thought, watch Bill Gates, Eugentics goes as far back, when African people were held as slaves, they were doing it then, and during the Jewis Holocaust. That is another reason they owe us reparations, they were using African people for their medical experiencements, and Eugnetics, there are many cures, that were brought about from experiments on African people, and people are benefitting from those cures today. This is a case for reparations. They used black people in their labs, and no anesthetic used, and most died from being injected with deadly viruses, and many went blind from vires put in their eyes. When the ships would come in from Africa loaded with African people, doctors would be lined up waiting for the ships to come in to pick African people to be used for medical experiments.

  2. Black people know where your children vaccination is coming from. Do not allow your children to be inoculated by any vaccines from Bill Gates foundation, or any of his affiliates.

  3. Eddie DonaHoo says:

    Yes yet genetically modified foods should be placed in regions that have soil complications and reproductive issues that come short of sufficient enough for the population.

    The key is healthy genetically modified agents on a micro germination level.

    I've always supported this.

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