GM crops for African farmers,a way to go?

Due to the fast growing populations in Africa, stagnating agricultural productivity, and increasing climate change, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Africa to tackle poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
Adoption of Genetically Modified Crops is one of the ways that could significantly reduce the scarcity of food and as a result reduce prices in developing countries.
In GM crop bleeding scientists find natural bacteria that can produce toxin or a protein that kills insects and then find whether the gins that produce that vitamin share the same DNA with the plant. Since all the living creatures share same DNA, it is easy to put genes from specie to another or from an animal into a plant to make it more resistant and eventually the plant produces important proteins itself. Then the modified seeds that come from a new crop are called GM or BT seeds that yield the better and modified crops.
Since the GM technology is simply adding virus resistant genes to crops that are also proved to be herbicide tolerant and have an improved crop production, it is the only option to fight food scarcity in Africa, though Ugandan farmers seem not to understand it well and those who have had a chance are still skeptical.
Therefore, some farmers suspect that GM foods have hidden health and environmental risks.
The most advantage in the Genetically Modified Crop Farming is that it reduces costs of pesticides and labor since they produce a protein that kills insects and then the herbicides used can not affect crops
South Africa led the way in terms of Agricultural biotechnology, Kenya also passed a similar legislation “Kenya Biosafety law” in february 2009, Mali and Togo enacted the national biosafety legislations in 2008 but Uganda seem to be hesitant.
Just like some other African governments, Uganda government fear loosing their biggest trade partner, Europe where GM foods is banned. However there is hope now for Uganda government to change the position on GM foods.
On contrary, Gullaume Gruere an agricultural bio-scientist at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington thinks that GM cotton can not be banned by any country since people world-wide do not eat it. Therefore, in cotton consumers need not know as it does not make difference to them.
Doctors say that Uganda is in process of putting in place a regulatory system for modern biotechnology. They add that the country needs this system in place before they can commercialize GM. “We need first to handle them at the research level [and] at experimental level, you need to understand how the farmers should handle it, what are the implications to the small scale farmers and to relatively bigger farmers, what is the relatively implications and how do you make sure that there is equity.
Uganda’s agricultural productivity can be primarily enhanced by adopting GM crops like soybean, Maize and cotton that are also Uganda’s commonly grown crops.

The biggest fear of Ugandan farmers is that GM seeds would be expensive to purchase as every after some few years modified crops gets weakened.
According to border control reports, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have no restrictions on GM foods.

Peterson Ssendi a reporter in Kampala – Uganda


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