Genetically modified (GM) crops offer potential for enhancing agricultural productivity for smallholder farmers in Africa. After nearly three decades of research and development collaboration and regulatory capacity strengthening, several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are moving towards commercializing GM crops for the benefit of smallholder farmers. South Africa approved genetically modified (GM) cotton, maize and soybeans in the 1990s. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Eswatini and Malawi recently approved general release of GM crops, including GM cotton, GM cowpea, GM maize, and GM cassava through public-private partnerships. Collected data from a diverse group of 30 stakeholders from 14 countries in Africa and results indicated that while progress has been made towards commercializing GM crops in several countries in Africa, some key challenges and downstream issues remain to be addressed. These include building functional regulatory systems, vibrant seed systems, local seed production, effective extension services, reliable credit/financial and marketing services, and improved access to markets for smallholder farmers. Unless these downstream issues are effectively addressed, smallholder farmers in Africa will not benefit from GM crops.
Key words: Agricultural Biotechnology, genetically modified crops, commercialization, technology transfer, technology deployment, Africa.
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