http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.18Change: -0.05
R/$ = 10.53Change: -0.03
Au 1297.28 $/ozChange: -6.92
Pt 1473.50 $/ozChange: -8.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jun 15, 2012

Biotechnology important to Africa’s development

Back
Goldamer Consulting's Dr Dave Keetch discusses GM policy and legislation in Africa. Camerawork: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Darlene Creamer. Recorded: 06.06.2012
Africa|Education|Evans|Africa|South Africa|University Of Pretoria Department|Agricultural Biotechnology|Biotechnology|Diverse|Harmful Chemicals|Media Dialogue|Bt|Michael Gastrow|Motlatsi Musi|Sandy Evans|Biotechnology
Africa|Education|Evans|Africa|||||
africa-company|education-company|evans-company|africa|south-africa|university-of-pretoria-department-facility|agricultural-biotechnology|biotechnology|diverse|harmful-chemicals|media-dialogue|bt-person|michael-gastrow|motlatsi-musi|sandy-evans|biotechnology-technology
© Reuse this



Biotechnology, specifically the genetic modification of plants to produce herbi- cide tolerance, pesticide and insecticide resistance, ensures crop protection, reduces input costs and exposure to harmful chemicals and can also improve grain quality, a diverse group of biotechnology, researchers says.

Speaking at the recent AfricaBio media dialogue on agricultural biotechnology, the researchers covered legislative control of genetically modified (GM) organisms to ensure the safe and responsible handling and use of GM crops in South Africa (specifically GM maize, cotton and soy). Other topics covered included an overview of biotechnology, a public perception study and the socioeco- nomic impact of GM crops on South Africa.

University of Pretoria Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development research fellow Marnus Gouse highlighted that the approved GM crops in South Africa are maize, soy and cotton.

The use of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton, he said, had reduced the need to spray insecticides and has led to significantly increased cotton yields in South Africa owing to the reduced effect of problematic bollworms.

Farmers who noticed the benefit of using Bt cotton moved to using a dual-herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton strain when it was introduced, which increased their yields, compared with conventional seeds. The herbicide-tolerant nature of the cotton is beneficial as a farmer can spray herbicides to control weeds without killing the crop.

“Most benefits arise from education around the effective use of GM crops. However, farmers are pragmatic and will not use the GM seeds should the prices rise too sharply,” he explained.

GM crops were important innovations that had a role to play in the development of Africa, stated Human Sciences Research Council researcher Michael Gastrow.

“Public perceptions shape policy, meaning that science must engage effectively in public relations. Further, governments are often not involved in shaping public perception through information dissemination, which can also lead to negative perceptions if conflated with labour issues or ethical issues – issues that are often not connected to the topics being discussed.”

However, scientists had to appreciate the environment that the media worked in, includ- ing tight deadlines and restricted or limited access to primary sources, which meant that journalists were often shut out unless they had a personal relationship with the scientist or researcher. This revolved around the issue of trust and whether the scientists felt that non- experts accurately expressed their professional views, he added.

Meanwhile, Soweto smallholder GM maize farmer Motlatsi Musi explained that he had been planting Bt maize since 2004, which increased his yields by controlling his stalk borer infestations. As a result of his extra profits, he had bought a mechanical harvester and had increased his land under cultivation.

“We missed the green revolution. Let us not miss the biotechnology revolution,” said science publication Spoonful of Science editor and pharmacologist Dr Sandy Evans.

There was a lack of input and investment into agricultural development in Africa and, hence, stagnating food production growth, she highlighted.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Video News
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 45 minutes ago A 50% cut in mobile termination rates (MTRs) implemented by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in April has dragged down telecommunications group Vodacom’s service revenue for the three months ended June 30. The group on Thursday...
President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday announced the composition of the ‘Energy Security Cabinet SubCommittee’, which he said would oversee the development of South Africa’s future energy mix. Delivering his Budget Vote in the National Assembly, Zuma said the...
Cesa CEO Lefadi Makibinyane
Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) on Wednesday stated that it welcomed government’s move to lead municipalities back to basics and to put in place institutional mechanisms to enable them to deliver core municipal services, as announced by Cooperative...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Local aerospace company Denel Aerostructures (DAe), part of the State-owned Denel Group, has won a fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new contract, which was won in an international...
Bob Skinstad
Although CEO Mark McChlery and chief marketing officer Bob Skinstad likened themselves to children in a playground when taking on the task of “reengineering and repositioning” the Seartec brand, the “young, dynamic and enthusiastic guys” were like proud...
An increasing number of buyers, in both the new and used car markets, are opting for finance structures that lower their monthly repayments, says asset financing company WesBank. These include the use of large balloon payments (also known as residuals), as well as...
Tertiary education institutions can use search engine giant Google’s Chromebook to provide secure mobile end-point devices for students on which they can share documents, work collaboratively on documents and access education materials and applications being used...
Local ceiling and partition company Abbeycon has beaten global competition at the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy competition, which was held last month in Berlin, Germany.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks