Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 7: Africa
Most African countries have been slow to adopt genetically modified (GM) crops, largely for the reasons outlined in Chapter 12 by Robert Paarlberg. In this chapter the main crops (cotton and maize) and the main traits (insect and herbicide resistance) will be discussed. So far South Africa, the first adopting country in Africa, has commercialized cotton (insect resistance), maize (insect resistance and herbicide tolerance), and soybeans (herbicide resistance). Egypt, the second, grows insect-resistant maize, and Burkina Faso, the most recent, has introduced insect-resistant cotton (James, 2011). Upcoming traits (virus resistance, drought tolerance and nutritional enhancement) and new crops (cowpeas, bananas and cassava) will also be addressed. Finally a few public perceptions which are also hindering the acceptance of these crops will be mentioned. When considering GM crops it is worth noting what Bill Gates wrote in the 2012 Annual Letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: 'We can help poor farmers sustainably increase their productivity so they can feed themselves and their families. But that will only happen if we prioritize agricultural innovation.'
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