Thursday, 19 May 2011

GMOs in agricultural development - Perspectives of farmers in Southern Africa

17-18 May 2011 Johannesburg, South Africa. The SACAU 2011 Policy Conference was held under the theme ‘GMOs in agricultural development - Perspectives of farmers in Southern Africa’. The conference’s attendants were the leadership of national farmers unions from at least 14 Southern African countries and representatives of other stakeholders including COMESA, SADC, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Other development agencies, private sector companies and NGOs involved in agricultural development are attended.

The policy conference on GMOs in agriculture unpacked the concept of GMOs, clarified the current knowledge on their application in agriculture. Reliable information to help farmers and other stakeholders make sound decisions was limited and largely inaccessible to the non-scientific community. As a result, most stakeholders have been left to spulate on what implications of GMOs might be regarding food safety, security, biodiversity, the environment, socio economic and other sensitive considerations.

“Uncertainties surrounding GMOs have led to consumer resistance and in some cases outright bans by governments. In most countries in the region, negative sentiments towards GMOs have been aggravated by the absence of legitimate and transparent regulatory systems that inspire public confidence,” SACAU Chief Executive Officer Ishmael Sunga said in an interview prior to the conference