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The role of GMOs in Food Security: An African Context, 12 March 2019

The role of GMOs in Food Security: An African Context, 12 March 2019

The problems and constraints of finding sustainable solutions to end poverty and hunger in Africa prevails; where over  240 million  people are classified as being food insecure. Africa is a continent that is inherently dependent on agriculture to grow its economy and feed its inhabitants. With increasing challenges of population growth, deterioration of natural resources, climate change and political instability; the sector has over the years struggled with issues of productivity and sustainability in most countries. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were introduced in Africa as one of the measures to improve the agricultural sector, and help farmers to efficiently respond to the threats posed. GM crops are commercially cultivated in only four countries on the African continent, South Africa being one of them. The technology has been widely contested for the environmental, social and health concerns it poses. It is currently adopted and used on the basis of farmers’ choice and consent, with most commercial farmers opting to use the technology for the economic security it provides.


This Roundtable was addressed: by Dr Stephen Greenberg from the African Centre for Biodiversity, who explained the socio-economic effects that the adoption of GMOs has on small scale farming, as they advance large-scale commercial corporations; Dr Tlou Masehela from the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), shared experiences that SANBI encounters through the monitoring of biotechnology usage by farmers in South Africa. Concluding the presentations, Dr Bongani Maseko from AfricaBio spoke about the unexploited opportunities biotechnology presents for Africa to address some of its food security challenges.