Developments in Agricultural Biotechnology in Sub-Saharan Africa

Jennifer A. Thomson and Dionne N. Shepherd
University of Cape Town
Hodeba D. Mignouna
African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)

A number of crops with a variety of traits are being developed by public-private partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa. These include maize that is resistant to the parasitic weed, Striga; tolerant to drought, and resistant to the African endemic maize streak virus. Others in the pipeline are insect-resistant cowpea and potato, as well as nutritionally-enriched sorghum. Some of these are undergoing field trials in various parts of the sub-continent. However, the South African regulatory authorities denied permission for release of the genetically modified potato and for glasshouse trials of the sorghum. After an appeal against the latter decision, permission was eventually given after two years. It remains to be seen how regulatory authorities respond to requests regarding the other crops.

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