1 Aksum University, Department of Plant Science, P.O.Box 314 Shire, Ethiopia
2 Aksum University, Department of Biotechnology, P.O.Box 1010 Aksum, Ethiopia
Genetically modified (GM) crop species were proven to be a solution for the increasing food consumption in many countries. The cultivation of transgenic plants is increasing from time to time. In 2017 alone, 27 different genetically modified (GM) crop species were produced in 40 countries.
Biotechnology is revolutionizing science, promising to solve hunger, malnutrition and production demands of industrial raw materials from plants. However, there are biosafety concerns that GM crops may have unintended and hazardous impacts on living organisms well-being and environment both on target and non-target organisms. To tackle such potential problems many countries are implementing international as well as national biosafety regulations. America, Brazil, Belgium, China and India are among the top GM crop users in the world, whereas Egypt, Sudan, South Africa and Burkina Faso are leading GM crop producers in Africa. Ethiopia has also developed its own policy and biosafety regulations for biotechnology products.
The Ethiopian government has given due attention to GM crops as a tool for the transformation of agricultural productivity and quality. Before a couple of years, Bt cotton (cotton containing toxic protein from Bacillus thuringiensis) has been introduced to Ethiopia and is expected to bring fundamental change in the production of fibers for the textile industries and also will have crucial consequence to the forthcoming use of the modern biotechnological Science in the country. The introduction of Bt cotton is a typical example worth mentioning here which shows a relative flexibility of the current Ethiopian biosafety regulation. This paper reviews the possible challenges and opportunities of using GM crops in Ethiopia.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Aksum University, Department of Plant Science, P.O.Box 314 Shire, Ethiopia; Tel: +251 914186296; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org