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alisa2006's Achievements


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  1. I have just been reading a blog entry in Gmo Food For Thought (http://www.gmofoodforthought.com/2006/08/genetically_modified_maize_vac.htm), and Gmo Africa Blog ( http://www.gmoafrica.org/2006/08/agricultural-biotechnology-is.html ), about a new genetically modified maize with a vaccine against the Newcastle Disease. The story first appeared in SciDev.net, two weeks ago. This is a very significant breakthrough, especially to developing countries. Many poor-resource farmers in developing countries depend on poultry for livelihood. In a country like Nigeria, there are whole communities that eke a living out of poultry farming. This new maize variety will save farmers a lot of inconveniences associated with current vaccines against the Newcastle Disease. First, modern vaccines aren’t available in small quantities, so they are not affordable to poor farmers. Secondly, these vaccines must be preserved under controlled temperatures. This calls for electricity availability, another headache for many poor-resource farmers. Compared with modern vaccines, then, this new genetically modified maize offers double benefits. In addition to being used as a vaccine, its stalks can be a rich source of animal feeds. Biotechnology seed companies should commercialize this maize variety as soon as possible.
  2. Melbourne, Australia, two weeks ago, hosted a major conference on agricultural biotechnology. There were delegates from all over the world. Perhaps, the one delegate who caught my eye was Professor Jenifer Thomson of South Africa. I have just been reading a post on Prof. Thomson’s speech in Gmo Food For Thought Blog (http://www.gmofoodforthought.com/2006/08/biotechnology_can_feed_people.htm#more). Prof Thomson chairs the prestigious the Kenyan-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). She is an expert in agricultural biotechnology. In her address, she railed at European countries for their obstructionist behavior with regard to genetically modified food. Prof Thomson criticized European countries for enacting policies that have effectively made it difficult for African countries to cultivate genetically modified crops. For example, there is a policy that bars beef products from livestock that have been fed on genetically modified crops. Europe being Africa’s main beef products market, no country would dare touch genetically modified crops. While this happens, Europe, itself, is busy selectively admitting genetically modified crops. As Prof. Thomson puts it, the rules of the game must change now. Europe should discard laws that prevent African countries from experimenting on genetically modified crops. This is the best way to wean Africa from relief food syndrome.
  3. If somebody was to ask you to mention two things that are currently shaping the world, how would you answer? Computers, obviously, would be the first answer. Quite a good number of people will also mention automobiles. What most people don't yet know is that biotechnology is playing a pivotal role in reshaping the world. Biotechnology straddles many sectors of the world economy, from agriculture to medicine. To reinforce this argument, two scientists from North Dakota State University, United States of America, have just released a report that cites biotechnology as a key factor that's shaping the world agriculture. One of their justification for this finding is that biotechnology enables farmers and growers to increase their productivity and crop yields despite limited available land. To read more about this report, go to Gmo Food For Thought (http://www.gmofoodforthought.com).
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