Prof Walter Sandow Alhassan, Consultant at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), has indicated that it is unlikely Africa will meet the Millennium Development Goal number 1 (MDG 1) of halving poverty and hunger by 2015 given the current low levels of agricultural productivity.
According to him, biotechnology, defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity as “any technological application that uses biological systems or derivatives to make or modify products or processes for specific use,” improved farm income gains worldwide by $44 billion from 1996 to 2007.
Of this, 56 percent was due to cost of reduction and 44 percent due to a production gain of 141 metric tonnes. Biotechnology, he continued, has helped reduce environmental impact globally such that it has reduced the need for external inputs by saving 359,000 metric tonnes of pesticides from 1996 to 2006, saving 14 billion kilogrammes of carbon dioxide in 2007 and conserving soil and water through low tillage. In 2007, the gain was equivalent to getting 6.3 million cars off the road.