- Elgar original reference
Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 12: African non-adopters
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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