Tag Archives: biosouth africa

Small Farmers to benefit From Agricultural Biotechnology

A recent research undertaken by US researchers has shown that small farmers in South Africa have certainly gained from genetically modified (GM) maize in a similar fashion as that of large scale cultivators. These revelations are truly opposite of what anti biotech activists have said. They say that GM crops would only benefit the rich farmers. Even a recent Mexican study also claims that agricultural biotechnology would certainly help poor farmers. It’s being said that the GM maize would certainly benefit the farmers as the DNA of the maize would be inserted with a gene from the Newcastle virus and chickens consuming that would be able to produce antibodies against the virus. In developing countries livelihood of a number of families depend on poultry and this maize would certainly benefit them and avoid the need for buying expensive vaccines for their birds. Will it act as a boon or a bane? Time will tell.

South Africa’s Private Sector Lags behind In Biotechnology

With every country trying to make a mark in the field of biotechnology, South Africa has a different story to tell. South Africa’s private sector seems to lag behind the public sector on R&D in the biotechnology sector. There are facts to prove this. Between the year 2001 and 2005, just fifty three biotechnology patent applications were received. Most of the applications came from the Agricultural Research Council, University of Cape Town, CSIR and the Institute for Animal Science and Health Research. The reason behind this could be that since biotechnology was new to South Africa therefore most of the private sector was closely working in association with the pharma sector.

GM Engineering Receives A Blow in South Africa

The biotechnology companies were pushing GM engineering pretty hard in South Africa but it received a jolt when Western Cape agricultural department’s stated that it was not in the favor of using GM yeast in wines. This happened after the department had received an application for permission for selling GM yeast in South Africa. Cobus Dowry, Agriculture MEC stated: The department will not support the introduction of GM organisms in the commercial production of wine until such time as it is clear that this practice is internationally accepted. The agriculture department stated that use of GM products in the wine would cause heavy losses to the South African producers, as they would be losing their export market. The department also said that they were not against genetic engineering and were in favor of those GM researches, which was done under strict controls.