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Nov 17, 2010

Daily Monitor Uganda OpEd - Can GM Crops Solve Africa's Food Problem?

On 17 November 2010, the Daily Monitor of Uganda ran an article by Michael J. Ssali questioning why it was taking Africa so long to make a decision about adopting gene modified (GM) crops.  Ssali bases his research on materials published in several issues of the pan-African magazine, New Africa.  He notes that this magazine quoted Prince Charles in August 2009 as saying that, “Growing GM crops in the developing world, represents the biggest environmental disaster of all time. Multinational corporations who are encouraging the growth of GM crops are conducting a gigantic experiment with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong.”

Ssali concludes that most advocates of GM food "are not talking about their greed for money and profit."  He goes on to agree with former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan's position that "the total land area available for agriculture in Africa is greater than that of Western Europe, the US, China and India."  He supports Annan's conclusion that African governments should "invest at least 10 per cent of their annual budgets to support and develop small holder farmers, using improved seeds, environment friendly fertilisers and quality animal breeds."

In Ssali's opinion, GM "is not so much about African foods like millet, sweet potatoes, cassava or yams and the various African vegetables. We need to develop our own food crops as we fight hunger and we don’t have to automatically switch to foods from other continents. The more we adapt to western technology the more we have to spend on machinery and chemicals manufactured in the west."

For more see: Ssali, Michael J.  "Are GM foods a solution for Africa’s food problem?," Daily Monitor, 17 November 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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