By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
The Zimbabwean government and the media has painted a negative picture on the Genetically Modified Foods(GMOs) with large quantities of chickens being banned from the stores for being unnatural and technologically wrong last year.
What really boggles my mind is that do we fully understand the impact or effects of biotechnology in Zimbabwe or Africa at large at the height of food shortages and persistent droughts.
How bad are GMOs and is there anything like healthy GMOs which can be clinically proven to be healthy especially when compared tomost empty tables in Africa causing kwashiorkor and malnutrition.
I would never agree to choosing the weaker devil on the table if GMOs are really detrimental but we ussually rush to use a common understanding and apply a blanket approach to all aspects which may not be relatively equal.
Speakers at the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) have urged African governments and industry players to concentrate efforts on biotechnological solutions to food security in Africa.
Calling on leaders to take notice of the potential of biotechnology innovations in solving the food scarcity crisis across the continent, the OFAB also urged media to encourage debate and publicity of the agricultural technologies, reports the Ghana News Agency.
“The media should therefore act as agents of change by working closely with scientists and policy makers to define an African agenda for biotechnology,” said Daniel Otunge, coordinator of the OFAB, at a three-day media awareness of biotechnology event held in Ghana.
Otunge noted that unless more is done to develop viable solutions to food security issues in Africa, the continent will forever be reliant on international aid to meet the food demands of the population.
The influence of the media in framing the biotechnology debate was underlined, with Otunge asking the media to focus on diverting discussion away from the currently prevalent negative public perceptions, and to encourage the framing of a productive biotechnology development agenda by governments.
“The media has a social responsibility to demand of governments, on behalf of their audiences, better science, technology and innovation policies and laws,” said Otunge. “No country in the world has ever developed without investing heavily on its science and technological industry.”