The Real Concerns About GMOs in African Agriculture


GMOs in African Agriculture-David Hundeyin, a Nigerian journalist and author, has highlighted significant concerns about the introduction of GMOs into African agricultural supply chains. While much of the debate around GMOs focuses on their health implications, Hundeyin draws attention to the broader socioeconomic impacts and issues of control and ownership.

David Hundeyin, a Nigerian journalist and author

what are GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. They are often developed by biotechnology companies, such as SyngentaUS, using proprietary technology. One of the key characteristics of GMOs is their ability to mix with local crop variants and become dominant in a region.

This dominance raises concerns about control and ownership. Patent holders of GMO seeds have the right to dictate how much of their seeds farmers can buy and even prevent farmers from using their own seeds. Additionally, GMO seeds are often engineered not to reproduce naturally, requiring farmers to purchase new seeds every planting season.

The implications of this dependence on foreign GMO seeds are profound. Local crop variants could disappear, leaving farmers reliant on external sources for seeds and threatening food security. Countries could find themselves in a position where their ability to grow food is directly dependent on their relationship with GMO patent holders.

Nigeria Joins South Africa in Approving GMO Maize Varieties

In January 2024, Nigeria made headlines by approving the commercial release of four TELA maize varieties, genetically engineered for insect-resistance and drought-tolerance. This development makes Nigeria the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to approve the commercialization of genetically engineered corn.

While this approval represents a significant step forward in agricultural technology, it also raises important questions in light of Hundeyin’s concerns. The dominance of GMO variants developed by foreign patent holders could lead to a scenario where Nigeria’s food security is directly dependent on its relationship with these patent holders. This highlights the need for careful consideration and regulation to ensure that the benefits of GMO technology are balanced with the protection of local farmers and food security.

Call to Action:

Farmers play a crucial role in safeguarding the future of agriculture in Africa. It is essential for farmers to be informed about the potential risks associated with GMOs and to seek information and support from local agricultural experts and organizations. By advocating for sustainable, locally adapted agricultural practices, farmers can help ensure food security for themselves and future generations. Governments and policymakers should also prioritize the development and support of such practices to protect the interests of local farmers and communities.


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