To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

September 25, 2008

Export markets not threatened by introduction of GM crops,COMESA study concludes

A study by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has allayed fears that introducing genetic technology in agriculture may lead to market losses.

It indicates that even should such products be rejected, the decline in exports from the three East African countries would be insignificant. The study says there is little justification in the precautionary stance taken by countries, ostensibly in the conviction that they are preserving their trade interests and niche markets.

The low level of trading risk is attributed to the fact that most of the agricultural exports that importers may reject as possibly containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have not been commercialised as yet. These include tea, coffee, cocoa, pyrethrum, sugar tobacco, bananas and a wide range of horticultural products.

GM varieties of these commodities have not been developed and commercialised anywhere and so far there has been little commercial interest to develop them. The study analysed the value and volume of agricultural food and feed exports by African countries to various regions of the world including the EU.

The findings revealed that the share of total export value that might be rejected translates to 1.1 per cent for Kenya, 6.5 per cent for Uganda and 6.2 per cent for Tanzania.

European countries have been the most vocal in the campaigns against GM crops, even though some European countries such as Poland have started growing GM maize.

Last year marked the second highest global increase in area under GM crops in the last five years, with the total area now being estimated at 114 million hectares.

There are now 12 countries in the developing countries that are planting biotech crops, compared with 11 in the industrialised countries. Last year's growth rate in the developing world was three times that of industrialised nations (21 per cent compared to 6 per cent.)

Out of the global total 12 million beneficiary biotech farmers in 2007, over 90 per cent were small and resource-poor farmers from developing countries. Of these, most were cotton farmers followed by those growing biotech maize and soybeans.

According to Kenyan scientist Prof Calestous Juma, biotech crops must play an even bigger role in the next decade if African countries are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of cutting hunger and poverty by half by 2015.

In Kenya, the regulatory frameworks are still in construction stage. The Biosafety Bill was time-barred in the last parliament, with the house being dissolved just as the Bill was going through its third and final reading.

The Citizen

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP