Genetically Modified Crops in Africa

  • Georgina D. ArthurEmail author
  • Kwasi S. Yobo
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 4)


Hunger and malnutrition are flammable pertinent issues that hinder progress of a nation and become an increasing risk. Biotechnology and food security have very good relationship both in the present and the future, concurrently embracing technology that offer new opportunities with increase crop and animal production. Additionally, they offer capacity building, collaboration, research and ensure sustenance. There is the need to engage and address exploration of new techniques and encourage various scientific and community debates with the support of respective governments. The way forward is to review biotechnology tools including biosafety processes, policies and proper implementation to sustain biodiversity.


Biotechnology Environmental safety Africa Food security Biodiversity Genetically modified organisms Biosafety 



We would like to acknowledge the immense valuable input from Mr Kofi Gyan Quartey and very grateful for the contributions made by Mrs Lister Dube and Miss Awo Quartey.


  1. AATF (2012) Accessed Nov 2013
  2. Adenle AA (2011) Global capture of crop biotechnology in developing world over a decade. J. Genet. Eng. Biotechnol. 9:83–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azadi H, Ho P (2010) Genetically modified and organic crops in developing countries: a review of options for food security. Biotechnol Adv 28:160–168PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baffes J (2007) Distortions to cotton sector incentives in West and Central Africa. World Bank, Accessed Dec 2013
  5. Bennett R, Phipps R, Strange A, Grey P (2004) Environmental and human health impacts of growing genetically modified herbicide-tolerant sugar beet: a life-cycle assessment. Plant Biotechnol 2:273–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bennett AB, Cecilia C-H, Geoffrey B, Steven S, David Z (2013) Agricultural biotechnology: economics, environment, ethics, and the future. Annu Rev Environ Resour 38:249–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bongaarts J, Casterline J (2013) Fertility transition: is sub-Saharan Africa different? Popul Dev Rev 38:153–168PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Brink JA, Woodward BR, DaSilva EJ (1998) Plant biotechnology: a tool for development in Africa. Electro J Biotechnol. ISSN: 0717-3458Google Scholar
  9. Brookes G, Barfoot P (2012) GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996–2010. PG Economics Ltd. Accessed 23 Dec 2013
  10. Campbell-Platt G (1994) Fermented foods—a world perspective. Food Res Int 27:253–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ceballos H, Iglesias CA, Perez JC, Dixon AGO (2004) Cassava breeding: opportunities and challenges. Plant Mol Biol 56:503–516PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chetty CC, Rossin CB, Gruissem W, Vanderschuren H, Rey MEC (2013) Empowering biotechnology in southern Africa: establishment of a robust transformation platform for the production of transgenic industry-preferred cassava. New Biotechnol 30:136–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coe A (2014) Culture and religion. Socio-economic considerations in biotechnology regulation. Springer, New York, pp 247–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cohen J, Paarlberg R (2002) Explaining restricted approval and availability of GM crops in developing countries. AgBiotechNet 4(ABN 097):1–6Google Scholar
  15. DaSilva EJ (2004) The colours of biotechnology: science, development and humankind. Electron J Biotechnol 7:01–02Google Scholar
  16. Drechsel P, Gyiele L, Kunze D, Cofie O (2001) Population density, soil nutrient depletion, and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Ecol Econ 38:251–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ezezika OC, Daar AS, Barber K, Mabeya J, Thomas F, Deadman J, Wang D, Singer PA (2012) Factors influencing agbiotech adoption and development in sub-Saharan Africa. Nat Biotechnol 30:38–40PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Falck-Zepeda JB, Gruère GP, Sithole-Niang I (eds) (2013) Genetically modified crops in Africa: economic and policy lessons from countries south of the Sahara. Book. Accessed Nov 2013
  19. FAO (2009) Building biosafety capacities. FAO’s experience and outlook, p 53Google Scholar
  20. FAOSTAT (2012) FAOSTAT statistical database, agriculture data. Accessed Nov 2013
  21. Fleet GH (2007) Yeasts in foods and beverages: impact on product quality and safety. Curr Opin Biotechnol 18:170–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hull R, Bosse M, Tzotzos G (2010) Training for implementing risk assessment regulations for the release of GM crops. In: Aspects of Applied Biology 96, Agriculture: Africa’s engine for growth-Plant science & biotechnology hold the key, pp 1–8Google Scholar
  23. ISAAA (2009) Contributions of agricultural biotechnology in alleviation of poverty and hunger. Accessed Nov 2013
  24. James C (2004) Global status of commercialized Biotech/GM Crops:2004.ISAAA Brief No. 43. Executive summary. International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Ithaca, NY, USA. Accessed Dec 2013
  25. James C (2011) Global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops: 2011. ISAAA Brief No. 43. Executive summary. International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Ithaca, NY, USA. Accessed Dec 2013
  26. James C (2013) Global biotech/GM crop plantings increase 100-fold from 1996 ISAAA. Accessed Dec 2013Google Scholar
  27. Jacobsen SE, Sørensen M, Pedersen SM, Weiner J (2013) Feeding the world: genetically modified crops versus agricultural biodiversity. Agron Sustain Dev 33:651–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnson KL, Raybould AF, Hudson MD, Poppy GM (2007) How does scientific risk assessment of GM crops fit within the wider risk analysis? Trends Plant Sci 12:1–5PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keese PK, Robold AV, Myers RC, Weisman S, Smith J (2013) Applying a weed risk assessment approach to GM crops. Transgenic Res. [Epub ahead of print]. Accessed Dec 2013
  30. Ledermann ST (2012) GMOs and Bt cotton in Tanzania the smallholder perspective. Accessed Nov 2013
  31. Linko Y, Javanainen P, Linko S (1997) Biotechnology of bread baking. Trends Food Sci Technol 8:339–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Liu J, Zheng Q, Ma Q, Gadidasu KK, Zhang P (2011) Cassava genetic transformation and its application in breeding. J Integr Plant Biol 53:552–569PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Malarkey T (2003) Human health concerns with GM crops. Mutat Res 544:217–221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nyaboga E, Njiru J, Nguu E, Gruissem W, Vanderschuren H, Tripathi L (2013) Unlocking the potential of tropical root crop biotechnology in east Africa by establishing a genetic transformation platform for local farmer-preferred cassava cultivars. Front Plant Sci. doi:10.3389/fpls.2013.00526Google Scholar
  35. Oerke EC (2006) Crop losses to pests. J Agric Sci 144:31–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Paarlberg R (2001) The politics of precaution: genetically modified crops in developing countries. John Hopkins Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  37. Pertry I, Sabbadini S, Goormachtig S, Lokko Y, Gheysen G, Sylvia Burssens S, Mezzetti B (2014) Biosafety capacity building: experiences and challenges from a distance learning approach. New Biotechnol 31:64–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pinstrup-Andersen P, Schiøler E (2001) Seeds of contention: world hunger and the global controversy over GM crops. Johns Hopkins University Press.;jsessionid=E36FD8FB0314BAE86253A88A5CB78F23. Accessed 28 Dec 2013
  39. Racovita M, Obonyo DN, Abdallah R, Anguzu R, Bamwenda G, Kiggundu A, Maganga H, Muchiri N, Nzeduru C, Otadoh J, Rumjaun A, Suleiman I, Sunsil M, Tepfer M, Timpo S, Van der Walt, Kabore-Zoungrana C, Nfor L, Craig W (2013) Experiences in sub-Saharan Africa with GM crop risk communication: outcome of a workshop. GM Crops Food 4:19–27PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sayre R, Beeching JR, Cahoon EB, Egesi C, Fauquet C, Fellman J, Fregene M, Gruissem W, Mallowa S, Manary M, Maziya-Dixon B, Mbanaso A, Schachtman DP, Siritunga D, Taylor N, Vanderschuren H, Zhang P (2011) The biocassava plus program: biofortification of cassava for sub-Saharan Africa. Annu Rev Plant Biol 62:251–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Scoones I (2008) Mobilizing against GM crops in India, South Africa and Brazil. J Agrari Change 8:315–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Thornton PK, Jones PG, Ericksen PJ, Challinor AJ (2011) Agriculture and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa in a 4°C+ world philosophical. Trans R Soc A 369:117–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. United Nations (un) (2011) World population prospects: the 2010 revision. Department of social affairs, population division, United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  44. USAID (United States Agency for International Development) (2003) Congressional budget justification FY 2004: sub-Saharan Africa. Accessed Nov 2013
  45. Uzogara SG (2000) The impact of genetic modification of human foods in the 21st century: a review. Biotechnol Adv 18:179–206PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Villalabos VM (1995) Biotechnology in agriculture: How to obtain its benefits while limiting risks. In:Induced mutations and molecular techniques for crop improvement IAEA Publication, Austria, p. 477–486Google Scholar
  47. Varshney RK, Bansal KC, Aggarwal PK, Datta SK, Craufurd PQ (2011) Agricultural biotechnology for crop improvement in a variable climate: hope or hype? Trends Plant Sci 16:363–371PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vitale J, Glick H, Greenplate J, Abdennadher M, Traore O (2008) Second-generation Bt cotton field trials in Burkina Faso: analyzing the potential benefits to West African farmers. Crop Sci 48:1958–1966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vitale JD, Vognan G, Ouattarra M, Traore O (2010) The commercial application of GMO crops in Africa: Burkina Faso’s decade of experience with Bt cotton. AgBioForum 13:320–332Google Scholar
  50. Vitale J, Ouattarra M, Vognan G (2011) Enhancing sustainability of cotton production systems in West Africa: a summary of empirical evidence from Burkina Faso. Sustainability 3:1136–1169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wambugu F (1999) Why Africa needs agricultural. Biotech Nat 400:15–16Google Scholar
  52. Whitty CJ, Jones M, Tollervey A, Wheeler T (2013) Biotechnology: Africa and Asia need a rational debate on GM crops. Nature 497:31–33PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wisniewski J, Frangne N, Massonneau A, Dumas C (2002) Between myth and reality: genetically modified maize, an example of a sizeable scientific controversy. Biochimie 84:1095–1103PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zerbe N (2004) Feeding the famine? American food aid and the GMO debate in Southern Africa. Food Policy 29:593–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zhang GF, Wan FH, Murphy ST, Guo JY, Liu WX (2008) Reproductive biology of two nontarget insect species, Aphis gossypii (Homoptera: Aphididae) and Orius sauteri (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae), on Bt and non-Bt cotton cultivars. Environ Entomol 37:1035–1042PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mangosuthu University of TechnologyDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Discipline of Plant PathologyUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations