Today, some 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa don't know where their next meal will come from and, despite international aid, Africa will still have 183 million undernourished citizens by 2030, according to a report published this year by the UN Millenium Task Force.
Against this backdrop, Ehsan Masood describes how Africa is emerging as one of the front lines in the battle for acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crops. Pro-biotech campaigners are fighting tooth and nail — often by somewhat controversial methods, including blatant media manipulation — to spread the word about GM crops. But the anti-GM lobby is equally vociferous.
Vast sums of money are flowing into Africa in support of both sides of the argument, as the various parties try to influence policy makers and the public. Meanwhile, more moderate voices are trying to promote dialogue between opponents, pointing out that while GM technology itself may not be the answer to hunger in Africa, it could be one component in an overall strategy to achieve a secure and sustainable food supply.
Reference: Nature 426, 224 (2003)