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African farmers need modern tools in agriculture

Patricia Nanteza, director of RePlanet Africa, reflects on the protest action in Kenya and Uganda to support the use of GMOs to tackle poverty, increase food security and deal with climate change.

I just joined my first street-level action. During our #Walk4GMOs, we walked the streets of Nairobi and Kampala to support the role of science, particularly the use of GMOs in agriculture, in alleviating poverty and addressing the effects of climate change.

For us, it’s obvious. We need more and better tools to help Africans produce more food using fewer resources such as water, pesticide and fertilizer. The science is clear: GMOs can help us achieve this.

With genetic modification, crops have been improved to confer specific traits. For example, BT maize is resistant to the stem borer pest, giving the crop the ability to fight off infestation, thus reducing the need for application of pesticides. Look at it like vaccinating maize against a virus, so that when it attacks, the crop can put up a spirited fight without much external help.

We marched in support of Uganda adopting GMOs, and reminded our Kenyan brothers that their government did well in lifting the ban on GMOs recently. What Africa needs now is access to modern techniques.

Patricia Nanteza is co-founder of RePlanet Africa.


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