Genetically modified organisms and food security in Southern Africa: conundrum and discourse

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Abstract or Summary

The importance of food security and nourishment is recognized in Southern African region and in many communities, globally. However, the attainment of food security in Southern African countries is affected by many factors, including adverse environmental conditions, pests and diseases. Scientists have been insistently looking for innovative strategies to optimize crop production and combat challenges militating against attainment of food security. In agriculture, strategies of increasing crop production include but not limited to improved crop varieties, farming practices, extension services, irrigation services, mechanization, information technology, use of fertilizers and agrochemicals. Equally important is genetic modification (GM) technology, which brings new prospects in addressing food security problems. Nonetheless, since the introduction of genetically modified crops (GMOs) three decades ago, it has been a topic of public discourse across the globe, conspicuously so in Southern African region. This is regardless of the evidence that planting GMOs positively influenced farmer’s incomes, economic access to food and increased tolerance of crops to various biotic and abiotic stresses. This paper looks at the issues surrounding GMOs adoption in Southern Africa and lack thereof, the discourse, and its potential in contributing to the attainment of food security for the present as well as future generations.

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