Biotech Updates

Half of South Africans Believe GM Crops are Good for the Economy

November 16, 2016

The second Public Perceptions of Biotechnology survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) found that more than half of South Africans believe that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are good for the economy, and in favor of purchasing genetically modified (GM) food.

The survey, released by the Department of Science and Technology, revealed that 53% of South Africans are now familiar with biotechnology, and 48% were aware that they were eating genetically modified food. The first survey in 2004 indicated that only 21% of the public were familiar with the word "biotechnology", and only 13% of those surveyed were aware of consuming GMOs.

Dr. Michael Gastrow from the HSRC said that the change could be due to increased levels of education, increased access to information, and greater prominence of biotechnology in the public discourse since the first survey in 2004.

The proportion of the public that said they would purchase GM foods taking health considerations into account increased to 77% (from 59%). Those who would do so on the basis of cost considerations increased to 73% (from 51%), and those who would do so on the basis of environmental considerations to 68% (from 50%).

For more details, read the news release at South Africa's Department of Science and Technology website.