WEMA drought tolerant maize farmer in her demonstration farm, Eastern Kenya.
In this opinion piece, Ian Godwin, a professor in plant molecular genetics at the University of Queensland, Australia, writes that the adoption of genetically modified (GM)
technology has reduced pesticide use by 37 percent, increased crop yields by 22
percent, and increased farmer profits by 68 percent. The yield and profit gains
in developing countries, he adds, are considerably higher than in developed
countries. Organic farmers, he continues, care for their land and want to
balance their impact on the land. But organic farms use more land and labor to
produce the same yield as conventional agriculture. Perhaps, Godwin suggests,
the organic industry should take another look at GM crops, as they have the
potential to improve yield and resistance, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We have GM crop plants with enhanced nutritional qualities, pest and disease
resistance, larger grain sizes and the ability to produce more food with lower
fertiliser inputs. Many of these plants have been modified with only a few DNA
letters altered from the ‘wild’ genes,” he writes. “Adoption would massively
improve the productivity of organic agriculture, and the productivity boost
would help make organic food price competitive. So let’s talk about GM
Have you eaten organic food today? If you have eaten anything, then technically you’ve eaten organic. By definition, all food is organic; it just may not have been grown under industry standards, such as Australian Certified Organic (ACO).
Most people who choose to eat certified organic do so because they believe it is cleaner and greener, or chemical free. But the most modern cultivated plants are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and so are precluded from being certified organic.
The Australian Organic organisation says that’s because there are no long-term studies on human health. Prince Charles has warned that the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops is the biggest environmental disaster of all time.
Climate change will have serious and adverse consequences for many development sectors in Africa, and threatens the economies and livelihoods of many African countries, noted NEPADS agency leaders at a side event they organized during COP21.
NEPAD Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination, Mrs Estherine Fotabong-Lisinge
This admission is good for one can only solve a problem he recognizes and accepts. The only worry is the reluctance to effect rapid defensive action to neutralize the threat.
Mohamed Abdel-Monem, Special Adviser to the AMCEN (African Ministerial Conference on the Environment) President, couldn’t be more right. Obviously there is urgent need to multiply efforts on combatting climate change as African economies depend heavily on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture.
But he fell short of offering practical solutions to the problem. We all agree that keeping global warming below 2°C and minimizing the negative impact of climate change requires more than talk and more talks.
When it comes to labeling genetically modified (GM) food, the battle lines are usually clear: Those who oppose genetic engineering want it labeled, and those who support it see no need. But today, a group of German scientists and other proponents of GM organisms launched a campaign to require labeling of anything that contains or has been produced with the help of GM organisms.
Their unusual plea is a political gamble; rather than making it more difficult for GM products to reach consumers, they hope the new law will show Germans just how widespread such products already are—whether it’s in food, clothes, drugs, or washing powder—and that there is nothing to be afraid of.
The petition to the German parliament, which will go online tomorrow, asks the German government to prepare a law that requires GM labeling for all food, feed, drugs, textiles, chemicals, and other products that have been produced using genetic engineering. The petition also calls on the government to advocate a similar law at the E.U. level.
Britain is set to plant genetically modified crops on British soil in the next few years—perhaps to the dismay of its neighbors in staunchly anti-GMO nations France, Germany and Hungary.
The European Union compromise signed on January 14, 2015, and going into effect this spring, gives countries the right to choose to grow GMOs that have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority. Previously, because of a weighted voting system, many GM crops were doomed for rejection.
For almost the last two decades, opposition to genetically modified foods in Europe has had a firm hold, and genetically modified foods have been the scapegoat for criticisms about industrialized agriculture, globalization and deterioration of local economies, said French researcher Sylvie Bonny.
OFAB Kenya leads high-powered delegation to EU offices in Nairobi over the Ambassador Briet’s negative comments about GMOs. Delegation included MPs, Scientists, regulators, industry and policy makers
The head of the European Union delegation in Kenya, Ambassador Lodewjik Briet, has rescinded his earlier statement that Kenyan farmers will find it difficult to find market in the EU if the country adopts genetically modified crops.
In a statement read on his behalf by the Head of Rural Development and Agriculture at the EU regional office in Nairobi, Dominique Davoux, Ambassador Briet. He said that the EU has no problem importing products from countries growing GM crops so long us they meet the set guidelines.“The position of EU is that we have a list of GMO products that can be imported into the EU space. If Kenya contributes there, it will have access to the market,” he said. Mr. Briet clarified that the EU has authorized the importation of 58 genetically modified crops including GM maize, soya, oilseed rape, sugar beet and cotton.The EU head in Kenya said this at meeting and press conference held in Nairobi on the 7th of November 2014 to update the biotechnology stakeholders on the pace at which the country is progressing in biotech R&D and the impact the current ban on GM foods has on biotechnology investments in the country.