Africa to see more GM crops
- Africa seems to be the next big destination for companies manufacturing genetically modified food. Policymakers and scientists from Europe are travelling to African countries like Ethiopia to promote cultivation of these controversial crops.
- The pro-GM scientists and policymakers, from the European nations including Italy, Hungary, Germany and Sweden, have decided to meet Kenyan, Ethiopian, Nigerian and Ghanaian agriculture ministers and officials of the African Union.
- According to British Environment Secretary, U.K. will be acting immorally if it doesn’t deliver the GM crop technologies to the poor countries.
- An official meeting was held by African and EU scientists to discuss about the mutual collaboration for cultivating these crops in the continent. According to some critics, the meeting was a finely cloaked attempt to promote genetically modified farming in legislative way, by overlooking its pros and cons to the local farmers.
- The spokeswoman of GM Watch, U.K. based NGO, said that the meeting was just held to provide GM (genetically modified) crops with a stamp of government approval, although several EU citizens are against GM in food.
- According to industry data, plantations of GM food have been almost stopped in the U.S. However, the U.S and Britain led G8 countries with their, ‘New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative’ are calling for farming liberalization in the African states.
- The new alliance will focus on increasing the productivity of African agriculture, but the farmers are widely criticising this as the new form of colonialism.
- A Special Rapporteur of the U.N. on ‘right to food’ describes Africa as the final frontier for extensive commercial farming. He said that there is huge struggle for investment, land, seed systems, and mainly for political influence.
- Seven African nations – Egypt, Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Nigeria have started GM cultivation on trial basis. South Africa grows Sudan cotton and Burkina Faso along with GM food crops. The first genetically modified, drought-tolerant maize is likely to be cultivated in the continent by year 2017.
- About 77% of world’s GM crops are cultivated in three countries, 40% in US, 23% in Brazil and 14% in Argentina, and very negligible amounts in Africa and Europe. The concern about the emergence of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” is growing worldwide.