The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa's Development - OFAB

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Oct 22, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology
in Africa’s Development

Diran Makinde

Director, West African Biosciences Network (
WABNet
)

NEPAD Biosciences Initiative

Dakar, Senegal

2
nd

Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa
(OFAB). Uganda

30
th

April 2008 Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala

Sustainable development in Africa


Within the context of sustainable development,
Africa needs to focus on:



provision of sufficient affordable nutrition.



improving access to affordable and effective
health care



protection of the African environment



creation of jobs and the reduction of poverty.



MAIZE DOMESTIC DEFICIT/SURPLUS: 2003/04 COMPARED TO
2004/05 PROJECTIONS

Low Productivity Smallholder Farming

Transforming African Agriculture


Widespread use of quality farm inputs & technologies


Improved seed
-

conventional & biotechnology


Fertiliser


Crop protection chemicals


Irrigation


Equipment



Empowered farmers


Training


gain the knowledge, info & skills


Credit


Basic health, education & nutrition



Markets that work


Incentive to invest


Infrastructure that enables trade


Information to make good business decisions



Proactive Policy, Regulatory Reform


Political will and commitment to create and enabling environment


Laws, investments in infrastructure, R&D, training, input subsidy, environment etc

5
1


These genes are very specific and allow the plant to
precisely

express the desired trait.

Plant Biotechnology


Using plant biotechnology, a single gene may

be added to the strand.


Allows for the transfer of a greater variety of genetic
information in a more precise manner.

Transgenic Plant




a plant contains transgene(s) that have been artificially
inserted instead of acquiring them through other
means.


The transgenes (or inserted gene sequence) may come
from another unrelated living organism.


Example: Bt maize contains an endotoxin gene from
Bacillus
thuringiensis
, an insect pathogenic bacterium.


Harvest from Resource Poor Farm of Insect
Resistant Maize


Healthy Cassava

Virus
-
infected Cassava

Factors Determining the Future of
Biotechnology in Africa


Proactive policy
: Africa deciding for Africa


Biosafety

legislation and institutions
: ability
to assess the technology for ourselves


Scientific capacity building
: ability to
appropriate & adapt biotechnology


IPR Regimes
: protect and encourage private
investments


Public awareness and acceptance
: credible
competent communication strategies.

AU
-
NEPAD S&T Consolidated Plan of
Action

NEPAD/African Biosciences Initiative








NEPAD/ABI Objectives contd.


Challenges Facing Africa on Biotechnology and
Biosafety


Lack of fund


Loss of technical expertise


Slow development of a biotechnology sector


Inadequate IPR infrastructure


Government not taking a more active political role in
promoting the technology


Public acceptance

Biotechnology funding in Africa


Gross expenditure on R&D less than
0.3%

(some 0%)


International donors provide
75%

of the R&D budgets


Bilateral donors
: EU, DFID, USAID, DANIDA, GTZ,
SIDA,CIDA, etc


Foundations
: Rockefeller, BMGF, Gatsby Trust, IFS,
KirkHouse

Trust, etc


World Bank


Africa Development Bank


Others: IDRC, IFAD, MAE(France),CTA, etc

Challenges for the Future


Continuing Responsible Stewardship
-

assessment of risk




Ensure that biotech crops in conjunction with conventional
technologies can CONTRIBUTE to a more Sustainable
Agriculture, Global Food, Feed & Fiber Security, Alleviation
of Poverty and a Safer Environment


Improved Communication with Society. Knowledge
-
based
decisions re GM crops

Hoban, 2001

Way Forward


Speed up the development of products with clear
consumer benefits.


Improved Communication with Society. Knowledge
-
based decisions re GM crops.


Improve and maintain confidence in science and the
government regulatory system.


Ensure that biotech crops in conjunction with
conventional technologies can CONTRIBUTE to a more
Sustainable Agriculture, Global Food, Feed & Fiber
Security, Alleviation of Poverty and a Safer Environment


Conclusion





“African leaders must significantly increase public
investments in biotech R&D. Failure to do so will
impair the continent’s capacity to have real
transformation will remain low on technology
development, transfer, adaptation & continue
failing to exploit life sciences knowledge for the
benefit of their citizens”

“…the new ingredient in Biotech crops is
not black magic or radioactivity; it is
knowledge

Former Scientific Advisor to
the European Union on Biotechnology


Agricultural GM technology is
here to stay


It is currently underutilized,
despite its specific appeal to a
wide range of farming systems


Biotechnology Information
sharing and communication
support are essential for
biotechnology acceptance





Thank you