SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA (SSA) WITH A POPULATION OF 884 MILLION people remains the most food-insecure region as 29% of its population is estimated to be food insecure in 2014, according to the International Food Security Assessment, 2014-2024.
Over the period under prediction, SSA’s food security situation is expected to deep even further by 34% as the share of population that is food insecure is projected to reach 346 million in 2024. The greatest deterioration of food security is projected to occur in Uganda. A major factor driving this is the high population growth rate at 3.2%, which is expected to remain high over the next decade. Another factor is the low production of root and tuber crops, which account for about half of the country’s diet.
Policy makers from Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania tour biotech facilities in RSA
However, a larger than expected increase in crop area devoted to new crop varieties could alter this outcome, says the report. What is more, like many other SSA countries, Uganda’s food security is highly sensitive to domestic production performance. Thus, the need to increase adoption of innovative crop varieties in SSA to stem food insecurity uptick cannot be gainsaid.
By Sarah Gonzalez
Prof Calestous Juma of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said political leadership is hesitant to make changes in support of biotechnology, which is “something they think their voters might not support.”
The heated public debate over genetically modified foods shows the agricultural industry is not doing enough to communicate biotechnology’s benefits to society, according to a group of witnesses hosted by the House Agriculture Subcommittee Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture on Wednesday.
“Today’s hearing made it very clear that we still have a lot of work to do to communicate with the public about the benefits of biotech,” said Ranking Member Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon.
According to Nathalie Moll, Secretary General, EuropaBio, the International Council of Biotech Associations is a network of biotech industry associations encompassing all national biotech associations in Europe as well as most of the other existing biotech associations around the world. It is not an association per se and members do not pay membership fees but rather agree on an individual basis on a range of topics on which they will work together to improve the general environment for biotech business globally. In addition, “an important element of this group of associations has been historically and will continue to be, the sharing of experiences, best practices and information about developments related to our industry around the world”, she says.
Most recent topics of discussion and potential joint actions include IP, trade negotiations, antimicrobial resistance, international standards on biotech currently being developed, incentives to biotech enterprises including tax regimes, GM labelling rules, Low Level Presence of GM material in traded commodities, as well as sharing best practices regarding bioeconomy strategies in various countries and regions.