Tanzania: Whether or Not to Develop Genetically Modified Crops

Orton Kiishweko
All Africa

A FOUR-DAY meeting organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Dar es Salaam is deliberating on and identifying priority areas for a five-year research initiative funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to be implemented in the country.

The study will cost $3.2 million during the first year and will focus on management practices that integrate better cereals, legumes, vegetables, livestock and trees in mixed farming systems and allow for more efficient use of resources, enhanced food production and higher farm incomes. The conference so far has highlighted the fact that government seems set to open the doors to genetically modified crops.

The latest indication is the suggestion made by the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, that the country has no option but to open its doors to genetically modified crops. “We are standing at crossroads where we have to open all doors. When you cannot predict rain patterns, when the weather changes suddenly, you then need to develop new crops,” he said.

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