Can GM crops jump-start Africa’s agriculture?

Can GM crops jump-start Africa's agriculture?
Can GM crops jump-start Africa's agriculture?

Africa-Press – Botswana.

Africa faces a race against time to increase food production. As climate change, population growth, and conflict constrain agricultural productivity, Genetically Modified (GM) crops as being touted as the solution to ensuring food security.

Supporters of crop biotechnology argue that transgenic crops will aid farmers in reducing the burden of pests, drought and improve yields and quality with limited cost and effort.

The number of countries planting biotech crops has grown from three in 2016 to over 10 in 2022, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

South Africa, Sudan, Egypt, and Burkina Faso lead in the commercialization of GM crops.

Even more countries are trialing various strains of GM seeds.

Countries are mostly planting staples such as maize, sorghum, and cowpea, but also cash crops such as cotton and soybean.

But concerns about trade and safety stand in the way. Skeptics have voiced concerns for the environment and human safety.

Countries also worry that GM crops will hurt trade with the EU, Africa’s largest export market.

Even then, many African countries have included the adoption of biotech crops in their national development blueprints and their agriculture and industrialization roadmaps.

The global value of the biotech crops market is projected to reach $30.24 billion by 2026, according to Fortune Business Insights.

Doris Wangari, a plant biotechnologist joins the show with insights on how GMOs can be beneficial for African Agriculture and food systems.

Ghanaian vegetables find market in EU

In Ghana’s Volta region, a former banker has established a farming enterprise that’s exporting vegetables and fruits to Europe.

Felix Kamassah quit his banking job nearly ten years ago. Today, he grows 47 different crops on over 700 acres of land.

South Sudan crude production

As Europe shops for new energy suppliers, African oil producers are scrambling to increase production.

South Sudan, whose output fell in 2021, is one of them.

Production fell to 156,000 barrels per day last year from 170,000.

The country’s finance ministry cited Covid-19 and heavy flooding in the oil-producing regions for the slump in output.

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