By Gavin du Venage
Genetically modified food has always been a tough sell, but nowhere more so than Africa, where it is banned in all but a handful of countries. Now, this appears to be changing.
With a famine declared once again in East Africa, Kenya has become only the fourth country on the continent to allow the full-scale importation and production of GM crops.
Kenya embraced genetically modified food this month in the face of fierce resistance from local consumer groups and politicians. Elsewhere in Africa, the debate is just beginning.
Until recently, South Africa was the lone exception. It was one of the first countries in the world to adopt GM crops and today has about 21 million hectares of land growing biotech produce. In the past few years, Egypt and Burkina Faso have also recently begun farming GM crops. But in the rest of Africa, GM farming remains off-limits. Even the importation of engineered food is restricted or banned outright.