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May 10, 2010

Iowa State University Expert - Europeans Oppose GM Crops in Africa

The Des Moines Register posted an article on 10 May 2010 reviewing the European position on agricultural biotechnology in Europe and in Africa. 

The article begins by noting that Europe is a major destination for African food exports.  It is also a significant contributor of foreign aid to the continent. 

The article interviews GianCarlo Moschini (featured in the photo to the left).  He is a trade economist at Iowa State University's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.  He is also Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Science and Technology Policy.  He notes that "Africa is very reluctant to approve and adopt (biotech crops) because they are afraid some of their specialized exports to the European Union would be jeopardized."

The article reports that the European position could become the minority position if "African governments decide they want biotech crops badly enough to drop their own barriers to the technology."

It also reviews efforts by private agricultural biotech companies and foundations.  Monsanto and Pioneer are working to introduce drought-tolerant and nitrogen efficiency corn.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are supporting these efforts, as well as supporting education programs that introduce high-tech breeding expertise to Africa.

The article concludes with a review of Europe's internal politics regulating biotech crops.  It adds that that the European Union (EU) "actually is a major consumer of biotech crops - but primarily of herbicide-resistant soybeans, much of which are imported from South America and used primarily in animal feed, not human food."

Photo Credit:  GianCarlo Moschini, Ph.D. courtesy of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.

For more see: Brasher, Phillip.  "Biotech in Africa: Europeans still say 'no thanks' to biotech," Des Moines Register, 10 May 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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