Modern Biotechnologyâ€”Potential Contribution and Challenges for Sustainable Food Production in Sub-Saharan Africa
Modern biotechnology, including the application of transgenic techniques to produce Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), can play a significant role in increasing agricultural production in a sustainable way, but its products need to be tailored for the developing world. In sub-Saharan Africa, the capacity to develop GMOs and ensure they meet stringent regulatory requirements is somewhat limited. Most African governments contribute little to science and technology either financially or through strong policies. This leaves the determination of research and development priorities in the hands of international funding agencies. Whereas funding from the United States is generally supportive of GM technology, the opposite is true of funding from European sources. African countries are thus pulled in two different directions. One alternative to this dilemma might be for countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region to develop stronger South-South collaborations, but these need to be supported with adequate funding. African governments as well as external funding agencies are urged to consider the important role that biotechnology, including GM technology, can play in contributing to sustainable development in Africa, and to provide adequate support to the development of capacity to research, develop and commercialize GMOs in the region.
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