Africa missed out on the benefits of the earlier innovations, underlining the continent’s persistent food security problems. Unfortunately, the agricultural biotechnology revolution might yet again pass Africa unless governments pull down the regulatory barriers that have so far seen only seven of the 54 African countries allow commercial growing of genetically modified (GM) crops.
In this issue of PanAfrican Agriculture, three experts with a front-row view of the agricultural biotechnology conversation, research, communication and regulation in Africa, give a deeper understanding of the matter in wellargued articles and a one-on-one interview.
As part of the special report, our team of writers in different countries also shadowed biotechnology researchers inside the laboratories and out on the farms where cutting-edge biotech experiments and field trials are ongoing and filed stories of breakthroughs and near-breakthroughs. The cautious approach to agricultural biotechnology on the continent isn’t replicated in other innovations though. Read about how urban gardening is thriving in Cameroon’s cities, aided by quick adoption of aquaponics and why goat keepers – who have in the past seen their stock wiped out by the goat plague – in the West African country have everything to thank DNA-based diagnostic tools for.
We continue to monitor developments in trade, markets and processing, which remain a weak link in Africa’s agricultural value chain, and bring you some good news from Ghana, Mali and Kenya. A certification programme is opening export opportunities for Malian mangoes while Kenya will later this year start exporting fresh avocados to China after passing Beijing’s tough quality tests.
A Ghanaian agribusiness start-up is challenging multinationals in the domestic and export market with its quality branded rice. In Kenya’s Taita Taveta County, a Danish-based company is contracting farmers to grow a fastmaturing banana variety ahead of the opening of a banana processing factory in the area next year.
Enjoy your reading.