11 African Countries Doing Field Tests For Genetically Modified Crops

Written by Dana Sanchez
Field trials in Ghana test pod borer-resistant cowpeas. Photo: CSIRO/csiro.au


Ghana is conducting field tests for Bt cowpeas and cotton, nitrogen and water-efficient and salt-tolerant rice and nutritionally fortified sweet potatoes. The trials will be completed in 2018. If successful, the government is expected to allow farmers to use them. Ghana passed a biosafety law in 2011. “With these guidelines, Ghana can be a model in Africa. We are telling the world, and Ghanaians, that we have opened the door and we are making ourselves open and ready to receive and consider applications for GMO use,” said Eric Okoree, head of Ghana’s National Biosafety Authority. The guidelines for the release of GMOs were issued in December.

Cowpeas are an important food crop in sub-Saharan Africa but yields are often reduced by more than 80 percent due to pests and diseases, according to CSIRO.