FoodNavigator.com Genetic engineering: It's a technology, not an ideology FoodNavigator.com Genetic engineering shouldn't be a political issue, no matter how much sci-fi-sensitive individuals might be reminded of the plot from The Day of the...
A newly-elected government provides a country with a rare opportunity for a fresh start, and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nomination this week of Mr Felix Kiptarus Kosgey to become Kenya’s next Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries offers our nation a remarkable opening to make a hard push for food security.
Success, however, will require President Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, Mr Kosgey, and the rest of our new government to set aside the bad mistakes of the recent past and embrace biotechnology.
There’s every reason to hope that they will. At the launch of the Jubilee Coalition manifesto in February, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto promised to “put food and water on every Kenyan’s table”. At his inauguration, President Kenyatta reaffirmed that his government will fully implement the manifesto.
This is both a tall order and a worthy goal — and one of the surest ways to achieving it is by accepting the latest advances in agricultural biotechnology, recognising that they have become conventional practices in many countries and should become so here as well.
Everywhere farmers have had the chance, they have adopted genetically modified crops. Last year, more than 17 million farmers around the world planted more than 170 million hectares of GM crops, according to a new report from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.
This is an all-time high. Moreover, farmers in poor countries made it possible: For the first time, developing nations accounted for more than half of the world’s GM crop plantings.
Unfortunately, as much as Kenyan farmers have hailed the Green Revolution of the 20th century, they have not yet participated in this Gene Revolution of the 21st century.
Our scientists have made strides towards developing biotech crops that would flourish in our soil and climate, but a toxic mix of scientific illiteracy and political pressure has prevented the commercialisation of these promising plants.
To make matters worse, the previous government banned the importation of GM foods and ordered the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation to remove all GM foods from grocery stores.
This tragic decision came last November in the wake of a controversial French study that claimed to find a connection between GM food and tumours in rats.
The results were immediately widely debunked by renowned scientists from around the world. Yet the political activists whose personal ideology opposes agricultural biotechnology — many of them wealthy Europeans who don’t have to wonder about their next meal — managed to smear a vital tool for fighting hunger.
The government cannot move swiftly enough to overturn the previous government’s misbegotten ban on GM food. It may be the single most significant step they can take to improve our nation’s food security.
They should accept what respected organisations, ranging from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to Britain’s Royal Society, have said for a long time: GM food is safe to grow and eat. We have nothing to fear from it — and a great deal to gain.
While farmers in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States have jumped at the chance to take advantage of high-yielding GM crops, farmers in Kenya and its neighbours have been relegated to the side-lines.
Last year, Sudan became only the fourth African country to permit the planting of GM crops, following the leads of Burkina Faso, Egypt, and South Africa.
The boost in farm productivity alone is enough to justify Kenya’s adoption of crop biotechnology, because it would help us feed a growing population. But the benefits would not stop there. Improved access to GM seeds would create jobs by supplying the raw materials for our textile industries.
Our leaders can show Africa a way to a better tomorrow — a future in which we enjoy true food security. After all, we elected this government on a platform of taking the country to the next level — through science and technology.
Mr Bor teaches Commerce at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Eldoret, and is the chairman of Chepkatet Farmers Co-operative Society (email@example.com)
Two hungry young galaxies that collided 11 billion years ago are rapidly forming a massive galaxy about 10 times the size of the Milky Way, according to UC Irvine-led research published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Jiroemon Kimura, the world's oldest living man, celebrated his 116th birthday last Friday. Photo credit: Kyotango City Government/Getty Images Jiroemon Kimura, the oldest living man, celebrated his 116th birthday this past Friday.
Though universities are rushing to embrace online courses, true education requires one mind engaging with another.
Educators are coaches, personal trainers in intellectual fitness. The value we add to the media extravaganza is like the value the trainer adds to the gym or the coach adds to the equipment. We provide individualized instruction in how to evaluate and make use of information and ideas, teaching people how to think for themselves.
Just as coaching requires individual attention, education, at its core, requires one mind engaging with another, in real time: listening, understanding, correcting, modeling, suggesting, prodding, denying, affirming, and critiquing thoughts and their expression.
FOR the past 20 years it has been Utopia for immigrants, the country in Europe that best epitomised the famous plea, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York.But Sweden was a nation in flames last week as tensions over immigration flared after the death of a 69-year-old man shot by police as he brandished a machete in the immigrant dominated Stockholm suburb of Husby. Sweden's great multicultural experiment is in jeopardy as Swedes question whether they are paying the price for having one of the most generous welfare systems in Europe. Asylum-seekers are offered new, furnished homes in an area of their choice and an average family could net as much as £1,700 a month, claims the National Democrat Party. As many as 15 per cent of Sweden's residents are foreign-born, the highest proportion of any Nordic country. In suburbs like Husby 80 per cent of the 11,000 inhabitants are first or second generation immigrants. Many Swedes argue that allowing sprawling ghettos to develop has led to a "Balkanisation" effect, with virtual no-go zones. Party chairman Marc Abramsson says: "We are facing a situation where plumbers, delivery men and even firefighters are greeted with suspicion and resentment when they enter some of these neighbourhoods. "Sweden has tried harder than any other country in Europe to make integration work. We have invested virtually billions from taxpayers' money and we have tried everything that the scientists have presented. If it doesn't work here, what does that tell you?" Critics warn that many of the problems seen after immigration from developing countries can now be seen with EU economic migrants too, which will heighten British fears about a possible wave of such migrants from Romania and Bulgaria when work restrictions are lifted in time for January. These fears are hardly alleviated by remarks last week from the European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom. She said: "I don't want to stigmatise countries and say there will be an increase in criminal activity or people who come and live off benefits. That's just not fair." A largely discredited Foreign Office report claims that the impact on the UK is likely to be modest, but many believe that, as with Sweden, Britain's generous welfare system, lack of domestic controls and the advantage of speaking English is highly likely to make it the first choice for many Romanians and Bulgarians. The UK remains the only EU15 member to offer types of unemployment benefit that are not conditional upon whether an individual has ever paid National Insurance. "The downside with being a generous nation to your own population is that Brussels says you have to be just as generous to EU migrants," said Ukip leader Nigel Farage. Ms Malmstrom insisted Europe needed more migration to offset an ageing population, although she specified those with talent and qualifications. However there is a tendency for European nations with generous welfare systems to attract more unskilled workers, according to Dr Jan van de Beek of the University of Utrecht. In Sweden, for instance, unemployment among those born outside the country stands at 16 per cent, compared with six per cent for native Swedes, according to the OECD. Dr van de Beek says: "Countries with extensive welfare provisions, such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain, attract more lowskilled workers and there is a higher risk that these will become unemployed and turn into welfare recipients. "The feeling is that freedom of movement would have been accepted if it had just applied to Western Europe but opening up EU membership to nations with very different economic situations causes great problems." The Netherlands, torn in two over the choice to worry about immigration or embrace the EU dream, is not the only nation to bridle. German Chancellor Angela Merkel can no longer ignore the pressure of mounting unease. The country's newest political party, Alternative For Germany, which advocates leaving the euro and taking back powers from Brussels, has gained 10,476 supporters in barely three months, 1,000 from Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats. We are facing a situation where plumbers, delivery men and even firefighters are greeted with suspicion and resentment Marc Abramsson, party chairmanFrance last year expelled 10,000 Roma gypsies, in a blatant breech of EU law, while Italy houses them in refugee-style camps. Spain, once Europe's largest absorber of immigrants, is now so ravaged by recession that hundreds of thousands are leaving the impoverished country each year. Denmark's new left-wing coalition government scrapped tougher border controls last year. It is now flagging so desperately in the polls it is likely to be ousted in 2015. Morten Messerschmidt, MEP for the Danish People's Party, says: "No one objects to foreign workers but they must be paid Danish wages. East Europeans are happy to work for £7.30 an hour. Danes who pay high taxes just can't survive on this." In Britain, Migration Watch disagrees with Foreign Office reassurances and warns 250,000 Bulgarians and Romanians could come here over the next five years. Ukip deputy leader Paul Nuttall said: "With the most easily accessible benefits, who can blame them?"
The reason we struggle to recall memories from our early childhood is down to high levels of neuron production during the first years of life, say Canadian researchers. (RT @theYFCinc: Why are early childhood memories hard to recall?
Stephen Hawking gets superhero treatment in new comic Fox News Living legend Stephen Hawking has already achieved superhero status in the eyes of many science geeks, and now his ideas are being honored in comic book form.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.