Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development
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Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

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Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.
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Chapter 12: African non-adopters

Robert Paarlberg

Extract

The future of agricultural biotechnology in Africa will depend most on the choices African governments make regarding regulation of this technology. High regulatory costs and the uncertainty of a final regulatory approval by national biosafety committees are currently the limiting factors blocking uptake of locally adapted biotechnology applications for African farmers. In nearly all countries in sub-Saharan Africa today it is still not legal for farmers to plant any GMO crops, and in most countries on the continent it is still not legal even to do research on GMOs. Only two countries in sub-Saharan Africa have approved any GMO crops for commercial planting: the Republic of South Africa and Burkina Faso. GMO crops in wide use by small farmers elsewhere, such as Bt cotton and Bt maize, are waiting to be used by African farmers, but national regulatory authorities have not yet given farmers permission to plant these seeds. This pattern of persistent regulatory blockage and uncertainty has discouraged both national scientists and international technology providers from making significant biotechnology investments to help farmers in Africa. In Africa, the regulatory approval process for GMO crops is typically held up at one of two sequential choke points: non-approval to conduct research on GMOs (for example in labs, greenhouses, or in physically confined field trials, or CFTs), or a subsequent non-approval to plant these crops in unconfined settings such as farmers' fields (known as an 'environmental release').

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