WGPlus (Archive)

Will ‘safety’ always trump possible ‘solutions’?

The development of genetically modified (GM) crops for African farmers is stuck in a ‘convenient deadlock’ of continual field trials.  Meanwhile, opportunities to enhance yields & reduce poverty are being lost, according to a new report published by Chatham House.

On Trial: Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa argues that new crop varieties are needed to boost Africa’s agricultural productivity and help farmers adapt to climate change.  To achieve this, genetic modification has advantages over conventional plant-breeding.  

However, prospects for implementing GM in Africa are being frustrated by a public debate characterised by misinformation, polarized discourse and opportunistic policies.  The results of this dysfunctional debate are regulatory uncertainty, consumer distrust & weak farmer demand.  Consequently, most GM projects become stuck at the field trial stage and new crops are not released.

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