Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are by far the most contentious topic in agriculture and food security efforts. These crops and food products, formed through manipulation of DNA in a laboratory setting, are programmed to resist disease, drought, herbicide, etcetera, by inserting a gene from one plant or animal species into the modified plant’s DNA sequence. The science is controversial because consumers are suspicious of technology that combines different species to create what critics call “frankenfood.” However, scientists and development specialists argue that GM technology has the potential to start a “Gene Revolution,” building off of agricultural success in the Green Revolution and bringing widespread food security in Africa. GM products increase agricultural productivity, and second-generation GMOs can also provide more necessary nutrients to malnourished people. Despite this optimistic expectation, GM technology has been slow to spread on the African continent and has been met with widespread skepticism and distrust. Currently, South Africa, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Egypt are the only African countries to commercially produce biotech crops. A larger number of countries are conducting extensive field trials and R&D programs, but there are several African countries that are outright opposed to GMO production. Analyses of this opposition abound, but no one has thus far been able to offer a definitive explanation for why these countries are so opposed to the technology.
This paper will seek to better understand and refine this question by outlining the scientific studies concerning GMO safety, summarizing Europe’s policies on GMOs, and discussing GMOs in Africa by observing three individual case studie...
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Minde, I.J., and Kizito Mazvimavi. "The Economics of Biotechnology (Gmos) and the Need for a Regional Policy: The Case for Comesa Countries." In AAAE Ghana Conference, 377-81, 2007.
Mugabe, John. "Keeping Hunger at Bay: Genetic Engineering and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa." In Technopolicy Briefs: African Technology Policy Studies Network, 2003.
Okeno, James A., Jeffrey D. Wolt, Manjit K. Misra, and Lulu Rodriguez. "Africa's Inevitable Walk to Genetically Modified (Gm) Crops: Opportunities and Challenges for Commercialization." New Biotechnology 30, no. 2 (January 2013): 124-30.
Paarlberg, Robert. "Gmo Foods and Crops: Africa's Choice." New Biotechnology 27, no. 5 (November 2010): 609-13.
———. "The Real Threat to Gm Crops in Poor Countries: Consumer and Policy Resistance to Gm Foods in Rich Countries." Food Policy 27 (2002): 247-50.
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