Thursday, 22 November 2007

Are GM crops the solution to Africa's food dilemma?

Published in: Legalbrief Environmental
Date: Mon 19 November 2007

There are many examples of non-GM technologies have the potential to revolutionize agriculture more cheaply than does GM yet they have not had the
regard paid to them that they deserve.

There has been a confusion that GM and biotechnology are the same thing whereas in fact GM removes genes from one species and, using a far from exact technology, inserts these genes into other species. However biotechnology is the much broader science of the knowledge of the genome and this enables the understanding of the function of particular genes to be put to use in assisting conventional breeding techniques to produce results rapidly and consistently. There are also considerable benefits in that environmentalists who oppose GM crops are often supportive of MAS since there is no crossing of the species barrier and this means that the widespread international opposition to GM food crops is not likely to be evident in the commercialization of MAS food crops.

Another non-GM biotechnology which has produced wonderful results is the ‘embryo rescue plant breeding technique’ which has been used to produce Nerica rice which combines the high yield of Asian rice with the ability to withstand weeds of African rice and so produces a variety ideal for West African climatic conditions. Read more.

Participants of the 6th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Science & Technology (S&T) for ACP Agricultural and Rural Development from November 12 – 16, 2007 at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and rural Co-operation (CTA) Headquarters in Wageningen, The Netherlands visit the Laboratory of Plant Research International, Plant Sciences Group, Wageningen UR. The genetic research is focused on the tomato and the potato.

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