Ghana’s minister for food and agriculture supports ag biotech for battling hunger
Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for Food and Agriculture in Ghana, said Africa should use agricultural biotechnology, like GM crops, to battle hunger and malnutrition, while ensuring environmental sustainability during a conference in Accra, All Africa reports.
“Climate change can significantly reverse the little progress that has been made towards poverty reduction and food security unless Ghana increases the application of science and technology, including biotechnology to improve agricultural productivity,” he emphasized.
Ghana’s government is under pressure to allow GM crops that will increase food production to feed the country’s rising population and to address the challenges of increasing water and land scarcity. Read more.
Indian newspaper says GM crop research could improve local crop production
According to Commodity Online, the Indian government should support agricultural research for the development of high-yielding genetically modified (GM) crop varieties.
The article references Argentina’s agricultural success from adopting GM crops. “It was the adoption of genetically modified (GM) soybean seeds, no till planting that helped raised production.” Read more.
Reuters: Mexico plans to approve GM corn for commercial planting
Reuters reports Mexico plans to approve permits for planting genetically modified (GM) corn by the end of the year. The article points out that GM crops should help make Mexico more competitive with the U.S., where genetically modified corn is widespread. Read more.
Biotech research in West Africa aims to reduce poverty
According to All Africa, the U.S. Department of State commissioned the Fulbright scholar and expert on biotechnology Dr. Hortense Dodo to visit a number of West African countries to speak to policymakers, farmers and members of the scientific community on the benefits of biotechnology for reducing poverty.
In the article, Cynthia Gregg at the U.S. Embassy in Gambia says she is excited to have Dr. Dodo in Gambia because biotech crops “can play an important role through increasing productivity while decreasing costs of production by a reduced need for inputs and plowing.” Read more.
Bangladesh plans Golden Rice field trials to fight vitamin A deficiency
The Daily Star reports that Bangladesh intends to go forward with field tests of Golden Rice, genetically engineered rice that helps fight vitamin A deficiency, which causes blindness in children. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute is applying to import a variety developed in the Philippines that is rich in beta carotene, a source of vitamin A.
According to the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, “Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Globally, approximately 670,000 children die every year and another 350,000 go blind because they are vitamin A deficient,” Read more.
UK scientist recommends GM crops for global food security
Sainsbury Laboratory scientist Jonathan D.G. Jones wrote an article about the widespread misunderstanding of GM crops and the importance of their adoption, ISAAA reports. The article, titled “Why Genetically Modified Crops?”, strongly recommends the use of genetic modification “at a time when we need every tool in the toolbox to ensure adequate food production in the short, medium and long term.” Read more.
GM banana could help prevent spread of fungal disease in East Africa
According to All Africa, a GM banana with improved resistance to a devastating fungal disease could help smallholder farmers in East Africa save their crops. A leaf fungus has spread through the region over the last three decades, threatening to halve fruit production on affected plantations. A team of scientists at Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARL) said field trials of GM bananas have shown “promising results.” Read more.