Just four African countries grow GMO crops

One of the reasons for the lack of wider adoption of commercialised genetically modified (GM) crops was the absence of functional regulatory systems, including an inability to perform timely decision-making.

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This was according to food security analyst Mariam Soumare of New Partnership for Africa’s Development, speaking at the recent Southern Africa Bio-technology and Bio-safety Conference in Pretoria.

“Other factors include unworkable national legislation, regulations, risk assessment policies or procedures, and inadequate capacity for implementing functional regulatory systems,” said Soumare.

Currently only four African countries – South Africa, Burkina Faso, Sudan and Egypt – produce commercialised genetically modified (GM) crops. Meanwhile, countries such as Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda are conducting limited field trials of commodities of interest, which will expand to multi-location trials. Some of the crops are expected to be commercialised soon, said Soumare.

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African countries are revisiting their bio-safety legislations, regulations and directives in order to start field-testing of crops of interest or commercialisation if appropriate safeguards are inplace, she added.