Crop Biotech Update

Experts Highlight the Importance of GM Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa

February 16, 2022

According to Russian experts, the adoption of genetic modification (GM) technology in the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) Region can help overcome most of the challenges related to agricultural productivity and food security. But this will be better achieved through a paradigm shift rather than cumulative change.

The researchers highlighted how GM technology can help to address SSA's agricultural challenges:

  • Transgenic crops provide a holistic solution to various agricultural challenges instead of finding individual solutions to them individually.
  • GM is a tool to address micronutrient deficiency through biofortification, supplementation, and dietary diversification.
  • Climate change has caused erratic rainfall patterns and high temperatures in SSA causing water stress to crops which makes them more susceptible to pests. GM technology offers the opportunity to develop crops with high water use efficiency, nutrient use efficiency, and reduce pathogenic infection.
  • GM can be an alternative management strategy against pests like the fall armyworm to attain resistance breeding, an essential part of integrated pest management.
  • Gene stacking can delay pest resistance in GM crops by allowing highly effective and durable forms of resistance.
  • Most members of the public do not have sufficient facts of genetic principles to make sustainable choices. Therefore, it is necessary to bring the science to the consumers and promote genetic literacy among policy makers.
  • The level of investment in biotechnology is very low in SSA. Clear policies and regulatory frameworks need to be established to boost confidence in investors and expand projects to benefit all the stakeholders involved.

Learn more by reading the full review in Agronomy.

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