Calestous Juma on biotechnology in Africa

Preventing Hunger: Biotechnology is Key
Nature
November 24, 2011
Commentary by: Calestous Juma, director of the Belfer Center’s Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; principal investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa; member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors
Topic: Biotechnology in Africa

“To survive the droughts, wars and other major causes of famine, Africa must embrace technologies that enable it to produce more, better food with less effort.

Indeed, without the advances in molecular biology and other scientific fields that occurred in the second half of the twentieth century, African nations would be much worse off than they are now. Without this Green Revolution, which enabled developing nations to import cheaper grains and grow high-yield seed varieties, analysts estimate that crop yields in developing countries would have been 23.5% lower and prices between 35% and 66% higher in 2000. Caloric intake would have dropped by up to 14.4%, and the proportion of malnourished children would have increased by nearly 8%. Put another way, the Green Revolution helped to raise the nutritional status of up to 42 million preschool children in developing countries.”

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