By Wambi Michael
KAMPALA, Jul 3 (IPS) - Africa must embrace agricultural biotechnology or risk being excluded from a major technological revolution that has had increased food production in the Europe, North America and Asia.
Professor Diran Makinde, director of the West African Biosciences Network and NEPAD Biosciences Initiative says that "Africa missed the Green Revolution, which helped Asia and Latin America achieve self-sufficiency in food production. Africa cannot afford to be excluded or to miss another major global 'technological revolution' especially with the increasing population."
Participants at a May conference organised in Entebbe, Uganda by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Uganda's National Council of Science and Technology noted that climate change, crop pests and high production costs require urgent investment in developing Agriculture biotechnology for Africa if the challenges are to be addressed.
Mark Rosegrant, director of the environment and production technology division of IFPRI said, "In the coming years, growing populations, stagnating agricultural productivity and increasing climate change will make it more difficult for Africa to fight poverty and malnutrition. To confront these challenges, many African countries are assessing a range of tools and technologies, including agricultural biotechnologies which hold great promise for improving crop yields."