Crop Biotech Update

Mozambique to Gain from Using GM Maize, Research Reveals

July 10, 2019

The use of genetically modified (GM) maize could increase crop yield by up to 50 percent, according to a study conducted by the Mozambique Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM). Maize is considered to be one of the most important crops in the country.

Pedro Fato, lead researcher at IIAM, reported that the GM seeds have great potential for producing drought tolerant and pest resistant maize. The first phase of tests showed that GM maize had doubled yield under conditions of drought compared to normal maize. When exposed to the same pests, the GM maize also performed better than the unmodified maize, producing 10 to 12 percent more yield. The tests were held over two years under contained environments.

The second phase will be conducted in open conditions, which will be the first time that the country will use GM seeds for maize production. Celso Laice, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology, spoke about the government's support and assured the public of the seeds' safety. According to Laice, the Ministry was involved in all phases of the study with the task of "ensuring that activities involving GMOs are undertaken in a safe and responsible manner."

Fato further confirmed that there are plans to develop the GM seeds on a national scale. "When the seed becomes available, any producer can have access to it, and produce genetically modified maize in any corner of the country," he stated.

For more details, read the news article in All Africa.