Ruling the GM crop debate

South Africa cannot afford to "get stuck" on emotional debates when it comes to genetically modified crops Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Pieter Mulder said in Centurion.

Addressing a press conference on the global status of commercialised genetically modified (GM) crops, Mulder said: "We cannot afford to get stuck on unscientific debates. Let’s work on the facts."

He said that there were 2.2 million hectares of genetically modified crops in South Africa and he expected this to increase in the years to come.

He said almost 77% of the commercial maize growing areas were sewn with GM maize, while 19,000 hectares of GM maize was planted by small holder farmers.

More land needed if GM crops not used

He said that globally more land would have been needed to provide the world's food were not for genetically modified crops.

Africa needed to do more research of its own and to be less dependent on overseas research for GM crops.

Between 2001 and 2010, South Africa planted 10 million hectares of GM maize and harvested 38 million metric tons of maize.

South Africa was the driving force behind GM crops in Africa. Burkina Faso and Egypt were the only two other countries growing GM crops on a commercial scale.

Mulder said that most of the arguments against GM crops came from Europe.

He believed more funding was required for research into various GM crops.

(Sapa, March 2011)

Read more:

GM foods: good or bad?

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