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Argument: GM crops are made disease-resistant, which increases yields

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Supporting quotations

Muffy Koch. "The case for GMOs in the developing world". 4th International Crop Science Congress - Case studies in Africa Disease-free Banana

One of the first benefits African farmers experienced from biotechnology was access to disease-free planting material in Kenya. While not genetically modified, this project provides evidence for the impact biotechnology tools can have on food production in the region.

These plants were produced by tissue culture in local laboratories and distributed to small-scale farmers. Coordinated, multidisciplinary implementation projects included farmer consultations; public-private partnerships; extension support; micro-lending; cooperative marketing; feedback and monitoring. This ensured that the products of the biotechnology research, disease free planting materials, reached the target group and were successfully implemented by the small scale farmers.

The results (Table 1) were significantly beneficial for the farmers. Farmers in the outreach programme reported improved socio-economic status with better access to markets and more income generation from the new planting material. The sustainability of the project has been researched and support for the production and planting of improved material is being provided by the stakeholders, primarily the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute and ISAAA (www.isaaa.org). The plants are sold for US$1 each and the farmers have access to extension support to help grow them effectively (http://www.techcentralstation.com/010504E.html).

[...]Recent devastation of banana plants in the region by the rapid spread of bacterial wilt disease has given new impetus to the tissue culture projects and facilities are being established in other growing areas in Kenya and in Uganda to increase the availability of disease-free planting material (http://www.technoserve.org/africa/kenya-other.html).

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