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The Role of Biotechnology for Agricultural Sustainability in Africa

Jennifer A. Thomson
Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences
Vol. 363, No. 1492, Sustainable Agriculture II (Feb. 27, 2008), pp. 905-913
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20208475
Page Count: 9
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The Role of Biotechnology for Agricultural Sustainability in Africa
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Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa could have a shortfall of nearly 90 Mt of cereals by the year 2025 if current agricultural practices are maintained. Biotechnology is one of the ways to improve agricultural production. Insect-resistant varieties of maize and cotton suitable for the subcontinent have been identified as already having a significant impact. Virus-resistant crops are under development. These include maize resistant to the African endemic maize streak virus and cassava resistant to African cassava mosaic virus. Parasitic weeds such as Striga attack the roots of crops such as maize, millet, sorghum and upland rice. Field trials in Kenya using a variety of maize resistant to a herbicide have proven very successful. Drought-tolerant crops are also under development as are improved varieties of local African crops such as bananas, cassava, sorghum and sweet potatoes.

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