Browsing: GMOs in Africa

Time is running out for Africa to guarantee food security for its population. As the saying goes, it is not very reasonable to keep doing the same things and expect different results.

Africa needs crops that can withstand pests and disease, withstand drought, flourish without excessive pesticides and fertilizers, and produce healthy food. Africa needs crops to enable smallholder farmers to prosper. GMOs provide a powerful instrument for Africa to address these demands when other choices fail over time.

Activists and agriculture lobbyist have already protested the move by the government to lift the 10-year ban on GM foods. A joint statement signed by Greenpeace Africa and lobbyist groups argued that, “food security is not just about the amount of food, but the quality and safety. Our cultural and indigenous foods have proved to be safer, with diverse nutrients and with less harmful chemical inputs.”

Lobbyists insist that public participation could have taken place, prior to lifting the ban; and are championing for its reinstatement. Furthermore, they are advocating for an inclusive participatory process to be instituted or a taskforce onboarded, to investigate long-term and sustainable solutions to attain food security.

The move has elicited divergent views across the region. Tanzania is firmly opposed to the use of biotechnology in food production, and considering its proximity to Kenya, has upgraded its vigilance to ensure GM food or cash crops do not find their way into the country; as boldly stated by the country’s Agriculture minister Hussein Bashe.