Anti-GM campaigns set to cost sub-Saharan countries

Anti-GM activists could cause significant losses in farmers’ productivity and raise food prices in sub-Saharan and other poor countries, according to a study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

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The study shows that restrictions on GM seed could see cost low- and lower-middle-income nations losing up to US$1,5 trillion by 2050.

“Over the past three decades, a number of campaign groups have pressed successfully for restrictions or bans on the growth or import of crops and foods improved through biotechnology. Most recently, in October 2015, 19 European countries announced bans on growing GM crops, despite strong opposition from the scientific community,” said an ITIF press release.

Research shows crops improved through biotechnology provide significant benefits for farmers, while restrictions on biotech crops slow the growth of agricultural productivity.

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“This is particularly acute in low-income nations where farmers have less ability to mechanise production and where biotech-improved seeds offer a low-priced way to boost yields and rural incomes,” said the ITIF.