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Crop Biotech Update

Juma: Africa Must be Open to New Biotechnology Tools

November 25, 2011

African nations must be open to new biotechnology tools that allow farmers to grow crops that have even higher yields and a higher nutritional content, and which can withstand biological and physical stresses. Calestous Juma, director of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project at Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, forwarded this thought in an article Preventing hunger: Biotechnology is key published in the November 23 online version of the journal Nature.

Juma said that without the advances in molecular biology and other scientific fields, African nations would be much worse off than they are now. "Solving world hunger will involve more than just producing more food. But excluding technological options that raise productivity will do more harm than good."

The international community, Juma averred, needs to take a pragmatic approach "that accommodates the best available technological options, rather than relying on ideological political positions that will put the world's most vulnerable people at risk. All technological options for meeting global food needs should therefore be on the table, including agricultural biotechnology," he stressed.

Subscribers can read the article at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v479/n7374/full/479471a.html