Apr. 21, 2016
Only three African countries planted GM crops in 2015, leaving farmers in other countries with missed opportunities to boost yields and mitigate climate change effects, according to the new ISAAA report.
"For Africa, 2015 was the 18th year of successful commercialization of biotech crops. The cumulative hectare from 1998 to 2015 in Africa stood at 3.5 million hectares (Ha). Three countries, Burkina Faso (350,000 Ha), South Africa (2.3 million Ha) and Sudan (120,000 Ha) spearheaded the commercialization of biotech crops. This production of biotech crops translated to an estimated economic benefit of approximately USD2 Billion." said Dr. Margaret Karembu, the director of ISAAA AfriCenter.
The exponential growth was witnessed despite the continent experiencing severe drought that led to crop failure in many countries. For instance a devastating drought in South Africa contributed to a 23% decline in hectare, demonstrating the vulnerability of the continent to climate change. In 2015, South Africa approved the drought tolerant maize trait under WEMA – Water Efficient Maize for Africa project. This timely intervention will go a long way in mitigating the effects of climate change on food security.