Tanzania is burning GM corn while people go hungry

Bad science costs lives

It’s late afternoon in Makutupora and technicians wearing blue overalls pour sacks of maize onto a bonfire. They exchange a few wistful looks as the flames consume the grain. After all, this is good food, and the country is hungry.

 But government regulations are government regulations. 

The Makutupora agricultural research station, located a few miles from Tanzania’s dust-blown interior capital of Dodoma, is surrounded by misery. Drought has stalked the land for over a year. Farmers watch helplessly as their wizened crops of maize — a staple food for the area — shrivel under the relentless sun. Skinny children sit listlessly in the shade. 

Some local farmers are aware that the drought-tolerant crop that was just tested successfully in Makutupora could have helped feed their families. But it didn’t, because the maize carries the stigma of being a “GMO.” Although every scientific institution in the world agrees that genetically modified crops are as safe as any other crop, outdated “biosafety” regulations treat GMO crops as if they were little better than germ warfare. 


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