Africa must embrace new agricultural ideas to better compete in an evolving global bio-economy this is the stand of the African Development Bank, AfDB and the International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI.
Both organisations arrived at this conclusion in a new report released during the week, the said report entitled “GM Agriculture Technologies for Africa,” analyzes the benefits and constraints of adopting genetically modified, GM technologies to address challenges related to population, poverty, food insecurity and climate change.
The report, commissioned by AfDB and prepared by IFPRI, discusses the need to transform Africa’s agriculture sector from one of historically low productivity to one that is a high-potential driver of economic development, drawing on technological and systemic improvements to foster intensification as opposed to extension.
It focuses on GM technologies in particular as these are the most controversial, directly impacting the adoption rates of biotechnologies in Africa. Based on published evidence about the benefits and constraints of the adoption of these technologies, the report provides an overall, evidence-based snapshot of GM technology in Africa.
Speaking at the launch of the report at a conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, commemorating the Africa Year of Agriculture and Food Security, AfDB Vice-President Aly Abou-Sabaa, said the underdevelopment of Africa’s trade in agriculture, especially intra-regional trade, in spite of the vast potential for its expansion.
“In order to meet their food and nutrition requirements, African countries import about $25 billion worth of food each year, but only about $1 billion worth of such imports come from intra-African trade,” said Abou-Sabaa.
“We must implement innovative solutions that can not only bolster agricultural performance, but also promote agri-food trade and food security,” added Abou-Sabaa.