The severe drought and three million starving citizens did not prevent the Zimbabwe government from rejecting food aid earlier this year. What accounts for this hazardous government policy? Zimbabwe now blocks any food aid that includes genetically-modified-organism (GMO) ingredients.
Sounding like a European Greenpeacer, Joseph Made, the Zimbabwe Minister of Agriculture declared that "The position of the government is very clear. We do not accept GMOs as we are protecting the environment from the grain point of view." But the science examining GMOs is more conclusive than research behind Made's baseless position. Since appearing in the lab three decades ago and in supermarkets in 1994, 1,700 peer-reviewed safety studies have been published focusing on human health and the environmental impact of GMOs. The scientific consensus from this research is that existing GMOs are no more or less risky than conventional crops.
Furthermore according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers using GMOs generally use less insecticide, obtain higher yields, and save farmer production time. As a result of its advantages, GMOs accounted for almost half of total land used to grow all U.S. crops in 2013.
African policymakers should look to science, not European environmental Luddites for food policy.