Four weeks ago, I wrote a column about genetically modified corn with a heat stable version of enzyme alpha amylase. Scientists behind this maize variety say it will be used to produce renewable energy.
If you live in the developed world, you’ll think twice before equating such efforts with building castles in the air. Already, corn is being widely used in the production of ethanol in the U.S.
So, this new maize variety will only complement current efforts to use genetically modified maize for renewable energy. Isn’t this good news especially at a time when gas prices are at their all time high? More importantly, this is a clear manifestation of the potential of genetically modified crops to solve the world’s food and energy problems.
Countries, especially those in the developing world, must now integrate modern agricultural biotechnology in their agricultural policies. This is the only way they can join the league of countries reaping heavily from genetically modified crops.
Developing countries can no longer continue to be mere spectators in the biotech game. They must intensify efforts to assimilate biotechnology into their agriculture.
It’s encouraging some countries are gravitating towards novel agricultural technologies such as biotechnology. The Swedish government, for example, last week announced a grant of $11 million to East African countries to develop their agriculture. The grant will be headed by Prof. Esther Kahangi, former lecturer at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
The grant, among other things, targets biotechnology activities and decreasing dependence on non-renewable resources. This is a golden opportunity for the East African countries to explore the potential of agricultural biotechnology.
Prof. Kahangi, a pioneer in agricultural biotechnology in Kenya, must use her influence and knowledge to convince other countries that modern biotechnology can play an integral role in food and energy sustainability.
If the U.S. can effectively use genetically modified maize for ethanol production why can’t Africa do the same?
Anti-biotech activists have led Africans to believe that genetically modified crops have no place in their lives.
Because they are driven by malice, they wouldn’t bother to tell such success stories of using transgenic maize for ethanol production.