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March 13, 2011

South Africa GM crops effort 'cannot be hampered by emotional debates'

Africa needs to do more research of its own and be less dependent on overseas research for genetically modified (GM) crops, South Africa ’s deputy agriculture minister Pieter Mulder has said.
Addressing a press conference in Centurion, south of Pretoria , Mulder said South Africa is the driving force behind GM crops in Africa .

According to the South African Press Association (SAPA), Mulder said Burkina Faso and Egypt are the only two other African countries growing GM crops on a commercial scale. He said that most of the arguments against GM crops come from Europe .

South Africa cannot afford to be hampered by emotional debates when it comes to GM crops, he added “We cannot afford to get stuck on unscientific debates. Let’s work on the facts,” he said.

However, he believes more funding is required for research into various GM crops.

The deputy minister said that between 2001 and 2010, South Africa planted 10 million hectares of GM maize and harvested 38 million metric tons of maize.

There were 2.2 million hectares of genetically modified crops in South Africa and he expects this to increase in the years to come, he said. Almost 77 percent of South Africa ’s commercial maize growing areas are sown with GM maize, while 19,000 hectares of GM maize was planted by small holder farmers.

Coast Week 

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