Africa: Technology Answer to Africa’s Food Security Challenge, Say Scientists

By Anne Okumu

Addis Ababa — Africa need to embrace modern technology in Agriculture to ensure food security for its citizens.

Experts meeting in Addis Ababa with media practitioners from across the continent are concerned that crop farming has been left in the hands of older members of the society while the young generation seeks white collar jobs.

This practice, they said, is dangerous as the cycle is broken once the elderly die leaving fertile agricultural lands to go to waste.

This was said at a meeting with media practitioners on Biotechnology and Biosafety hosted by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Alliance for commodity trade in east and southern Africa (ACTESA) and International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) Africentre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“We need to increase agriculture productivity… one of the solutions lies in employing advanced technologies such as biotechnology,” said Mr Kare Chawicha, Ethiopian minister for forest and climate change.

“We need to make crop production friendly for people of all ages and both genders by using technological advancements. We need to bring the youth back to cultivation,” said Mrs Margaret Karembu, Director ISAAA Africentre.

While the debate on adoption of biotechnology and biosafety continues in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, with issues of concern including food safety, socio-economic impact and environmental safety, scientists say they are keen on ensuring natural resources are not tampered with.

‘We must ensure that as we increase productivity using the modern forms of technology in crop production, we do not compromise our environment. It has to be safe,” added Mrs Karembu.

While the effects of drought continue to rage on in most parts of Kenya, the decision on whether or not to lift the ban on importation of GMO or to encourage local production of the same still lies with the government.

Already, eight countries in the region have conducted while some are still in the process on key food crops such as cassava, banana, sweet potato, maize and rice.

Currently Burkina Faso, Egypt, Sudan and South Africa allow the cultivation of GMO crops.

In Kenya, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has been criticised for declining to issue a permit for GMO field trials to the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro).

Meanwhile, enhanced relationship between scientists and media practitioners was emphasised to shape public opinion on biotechnology/biosafety issues especially in Africa and to encourage technology adoption.

Source:

Africa: Technology Answer to Africa’s Food Security Challenge, Say Scientists

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Posted by on Mar 8 2017. Filed under Agriculture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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