Agricultural researchers at giant global seed producer DuPont Pioneer have called on African governments to ease regulations on genetically modified (GMO) seeds to help farmers increase their production capacities.
Speaking during the opening of a week-long international media tour day organised by CropLife International, one of DuPont Pioneer’s lead researchers Jim Gaffney underlined the need for local African farmers to have increased access to improved seed as one way of boosting their production.
Said Gaffney: “This year, the US will harvest a record of 11 tones per hectare. These are local farmers. The underlying reason is that our farmers have access to some of the best, improved seeds that respond to current challenges.
“This is not the case with most African farmers. I have worked in Cameroon and interacted with farmers who, for the past 60 years, are using the same old cassava seed. Their production capacity, as a result, is very low mostly because their inputs are not improved.”
He hailed Malawi for embracing innovative maize seeds, but urged government to extend the gesture to other crops like cassava, cotton, sorghum and rice.
Dr Addrian Massey, managing director for Science and Regulatory Affairs, noted that African economies, which are still being driven by agriculture, need to embrace biotechnology.