The Africa Regional Biotech Conference for Africa was a great opportunity to network with different stakeholders in biotechnology and share ideas on how Africa can harness the enormous opportunities that the technology presents in transforming the agricultural landscape and livelihoods of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
While biotechnology has the potential to improve agricultural productivity in Africa, from interacting with delegates at the conference, it was evident that some still harbour negative perceptions on its use, impact on trade, and ethics, which skews how information on biotechnology is disseminated to the public and decision makers. In my view, and given my own involvement in biotechnology communication in Africa, poor knowledge sharing is the greatest hindrance to the adoption and eventual realization of the full potential of biotechnology in Africa.
It is for this reason that the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) was established in 2006. For over a decade, and currently with seven chapters in Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso), OFAB, an advocacy project, continually engages different stakeholders in Africa to raise the understanding and appreciation of the technology and thus build an enabling environment for informed decision-making.
Suleiman Okoth, African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Kenya
This reflection is one in a series written by participants of the FAO Regional Biotech Conference for Africa held in Addis Ababa on November 22-24, 2017.