These projected SDG plan is to solve issues arising from unprecedented population growth, increasing conflict and displacement, natural calamities and emergence of major epidemics which are some of the factors that will compound complexities of global food security over the coming years.
According to the recent reports from World Food Programme, some 795 million people in the world don’t have enough food to lead a healthy active life.
This can get worse with the next global food crisis, predicted to occur within four years a prediction given by science experts in the world.
For scientists across the globe in agricultural value chain to counteract the upcoming challenges likely to be faced by factors which may lead to food insecurity like climate change challenges among others, it is imperative to try novel and enterprising solutions across the agricultural food chain, including gene modification of crops which is already being applied by scientists in many countries including Uganda.
While it is the contention of agricultural scientists across the globe that genetically modified (GM) crops could be our best hope for feeding an increasingly hungry planet, there is need to develop agricultural products within a regulatory framework that takes potential risks into account and protects farmers, consumers and the environment.
In Uganda and other countries in Easter Africa like Kenya, scientists are already developing transgenic crop varieties using modern biotechnology mechanism.
In some countries in Africa like South Africa, Sudan and Burkina Faso, commercialization of transgenic crops such as BT cotton and cow pea is already going on and countries like Ghana and Nigeria are conducting trails in a number of crop varieties including cow pea against Maruca vitrata pest.
In Uganda trials are being conducted in various crops namely the East Africa highland banana variety against banana bacterial wilt, nematodes, black sigatoka, banana rich in vitamin A, cassava against cassava brown streak virus, cassava mosaic virus, rice growing in less nutrient soil, maize tolerant to drought and maize stem borer, BT cotton and Irish potato resistant to blight.
Scientists in Uganda under their umbrella body National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) have already concluded trials of banana against black sigatoka, Vitamin A sweet banana and banana bacterial wilt and results show maximum tolerance against the various diseases mentioned.
However much as agricultural scientists in the globe have been developing crop, animal and poultry varieties among others using modern biotechnology to come up with GMO products, a number of scientists both in the agricultural and medical sector in the developed world are now moving towards developing agricultural and medical products using gene editing technology.
(Source: Daily Monitor)