Wednesday 18 June 2014

Could GM crops help feed Africa? - Yen Yuen


In Africa, farmer are having a tough time growing crops to feed themselves, especially when they are using the most rudimentary tools. Despite the problems they are facing, most countries in the Africa continent are reluctant to use GM crops as a solution as they view them with suspicion.

However, in African countries such as Uganda, they are gradually accepting GM food as a solution to their food shortage problem. For example, they are trying to develop Drought Resistant Maize to overcome their food shortage problem, since the price of maize has gone up three fold in a year.

It is an expensive project, but the big bucks of the Gates Foundation and Monsanto already mean that research is well advanced. Also, there is no sliver bullet to this problem especially when African’s agricultural problems are complex. And environmental groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have warned Africa not to become a dumping or testing ground for big US biotech companies; and that there could yet be unforeseen and potentially catastrophic environmental risks

Despite knowing it is a controversial topic (For example there is a de facto ban on GM food), they insists on using GM food to solve their food storage



It is delightful to see that some of the African countries are slowly adopting GM food as a solution to solve their food shortage problem and it will be better if more African countries adopt this solution and change their views of GM food (especially when most of them view GM food as “poison” and refuse to accept GM food even when the people in their country are suffering from starvation) I feel that there is perfectly nothing wrong with GM food since the Americans are mostly eating GM food and the Africans should try to understand this concept.

Despite all this, this is no silver bullet to the solution since Africa agriculture is very complex and using GM food may take a few years (scientific tests etc) before it can be widely used. Thus, international organisation could assist in producing more funds for African countries to further develop their technology to ensure food sufficiency or provide food for these countries while they are still suffering from food shortage.

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