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Thursday, 30 June 2016

EU position on GMOs a blow to SADC’s food security

SADC countries still show the least level of biotechnology development owing largely to the precautionary approach of governments in guiding the use of biotechnology in agriculture and the negative perceptions emanating from the European Union’s stand on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), researchers say. According to the latest Assuring Agricultural and Food Safety of GMOs in Southern Africa (GMASSURE) bulletin, Dr Jane Morris, a South African-based biotechnology consultant says the EU’s negative perceptions on GMOs has stalled the adoption of the technology among SADC countries. “Unfortunately, progress towards the use of biotechnology – and particularly genetically modified organisms – in alleviating food insecurity is very slow,” she says. “Even in South Africa, where genetically modified (GM) crops are widely grown, local researchers find it difficult to overcome regulatory hurdles and introduce new GM crops.” Morris says the EU policy undermines SADC agricultural innovation in the field of GMOS through its restrictive policies on GMOs “The negative attitudes towards GMOs and some other relevant technologies in Europe has had a negative impact on the world’s food supply, as Western Europe imports as much food as the whole of Africa – and much of this is genetically modified,” she says. “Despite Europe having the luxury of enough money to import the food it needs, its rejection of GMOs has had an impact on the acceptance of these foods in the SADC region. “In contrast to Europe, developing regions like SADC have less money to pay for food imports, and need to be more self-sufficient to ensure food security. For this reason, it is important that countries in SADC make use of all available technologies, including GMOs.” SADC governments have also stalled the adoption of GM technologies in agriculture.

Source: The Southern African

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