Zimbabwe: Africa Still Debating GMOs Pros and Cons

The debate regarding whether to allow GMO (genetically modified organism) foods into Zimbabwe is also a debate on how best to feed the African population that is expected to rise to two billion people by 2050.

There are many factors to consider regarding the use of GMO crops to answer the need for increased food production in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole. On the one hand are GMO proponents who point out that the “advantages of GM crops include high yields, virus resistance, nutrition enhancement, herbicide resistance, extended shelf life for food products, insect resistance and water retention capacities.” On the other hand are GMO opponents, who “fear GMOs have the potential to enlarge internal organs and harm consumers” in addition to questioning “the environmental effects of GM crops including the elimination of natural control mechanism[s].

Others also fear the impact of cheap GM food on human health as well as on trade for farmers dealing with non-GM crops.” While the initial costs of raising the GMO crops are lower than non-GMO crops, because of an increased need for related herbicides and pesticides to control new pests and plant diseases, the cost is increased overall for the farmers and then passed on to those who can least afford to purchase food. An additional factor is that the same multinational companies that sell the GMO seeds also manufacture and sell the needed herbicides and pesticides. Feeding the ever-expanding population in Zimbabwe and the whole African continent creates a need to explore a wide breadth of options for growing food, including both GMO and non-GMO methods. The hunger of the people may take the debate out of the international arena and into a need for immediate, if not perfect, action.  Click here for article in the Herald (Zimbabwe).

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