Why We Ask: Our mission and operations are funded 100% by conservatives like you. Please help us continue to extend Liberty to the next generation and support the 2023 Year-End Campaign today.

December 11, 2020

GM Crops: More Important to Africa’s Food Security Than Ever

Genetically modified crops are yet to penetrate deep into the African agricultural sector.

By Vijay Jayaraj

The economic situation in Africa has improved a lot since the 1990s. Yet, rampant poverty and food insecurity still impact millions of lives there.

Currently, there is a huge demand/supply gap in the agricultural sector. At least three hundred million are malnourished.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization defines food security as “a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

Africa’s agricultural sector needs to be strengthened to meet the demand for quality food. In 2017, Africa spent $64.5 billion importing food, but importing food is not sustainable in the long run.

World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Akinwumi Adesina says, “It is unacceptable for Africa to import food. Why? Because the continent holds 65 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land. Properly used, even a small part of that land could provide sufficient food for all Africans and even for export.”

While other countries have moved way ahead in food production, Africa has lagged behind. Agricultural productivity in Africa has remained stagnant for the last 40 years. That must not continue.

Norman Borlaug — father of the Green Revolution — had a special passion to uplift the poor in Africa. Reports recall that “his last words before his death concerned the plight of African farmers, whose lives he had been devoted to improving for almost 30 years.”

The global Green Revolution — spurred by Borlaug’s gene-edited crop varieties — began in the 1960s and enabled countries to produce record outputs. The cost of cereal grains declined by 30% during the 1980s.

The heart of this revolution was carefully cross-bred crop varieties. They were more robust to varied and changing climatic conditions, higher yielding, and more resistant to disease and pests. All of these ingredients made the Green Revolution a turning point in global agricultural history.

With the advancement of genetic technology, scientists now can achieve even greater improvements with higher precision in less time. Many Genetically Modified (GM) crops are scientifically tested, approved by the world’s top medical agencies, and declared safe by hundreds of Nobel Prize-winning scientists.

More than 100 independent, U.S., European, and international scientific societies have approved GM crops for their safety and recognize that they do not pose risk to the environment or human health.

In contrast, they are more beneficial than the non-GM variants. According to such scientists, the benefits of GM crops include increased yield, improved quality, and adaptability to specific abiotic and biotic stresses such as drought, pests, and disease, among others.

A study that assessed the environmental effects of GM crops globally found that GM crop use reduced pesticide spraying by 352 million kilograms between 1996 and 2008.

GM variants of rice, maize, wheat, cotton, canola, potatoes, aubergines (eggplant), squash, soya beans, papaya, and sugar beets have already been approved and commercially cultivated in more than 185 million hectares across the globe. GM crops constitute more than 75% of the globally produced soya bean.

In Africa, a continent where food security needs more attention than any other place, GM crops are yet to penetrate the agricultural scene.

Currently, only three countries in Africa — South Africa, Sudan, and Burkina Faso — have adopted GM crops on a large scale. GM crops account for around 2.3 million hectares of agriculture in South Africa, consisting of GM cotton, maize, and soya beans.

Other countries, like Kenya, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique, and Nigeria, are in the process of adopting GM crops in their commercial sectors.

A number of countries approved GM crops in 2020. Despite a ban on GM crops since 2011, Kenya approved the cultivation of GM cotton. Nigeria, a key economy in West Africa, approved GM variants of both cotton and cowpea.

GM crop introduction in the past has had tremendous benefits in the continent. The disease-resistant cassava plants helped farmers overcome the Cassava Mosaic Virus, resulting in higher yields. Likewise, GM soya bean farming has been highly beneficial to the farmers in South Africa.

But genetically modified crops are yet to penetrate deep into the African agricultural sector due to opposition from anti-GMO lobbies and radical environmentalists. 

If Africa wants to get serious about its food security, it must approve GM crops and stay clear of the anti-GM movement that has robbed billions of their rightful access to GM crops — crops that are economically and socially valuable. A strong political will to embrace GM crops will ensure that Africans will be better fed in the future.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England) is a research contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.