11 February 2013

Tanzania: Varsity to Offer Seed Breeding Lessons

Photo: IRIN
A farmer shows his maize seeds (file photo).

Morogoro — Despite the fact that Tanzania hasn't yet accepted the use of Genetic Modified seeds, the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) says that it has been offering such lessons for the past 12 years in order to equip the country with global modern technological change in plant breeding.

Speaking to journalists last week in Morogoro, the lecturer of Horticulture-Molecular and Genetics at SUA in Morogoro Dr. Paul Kusolwa said that Tanzania and other African countries will have no option but to embrace the use of GM seeds if they are to meet the global food security demand.

He said that GM lessons that involve the use of genes to produce better quality seeds with high yield and pest resistance started to be included as topics at the university curricular in 2000.

This was in order to allow the country walk hand in hand with today's new global changing technology.

"There is no country that can escape from the use of GM seeds especially if countries want to increase production," stressed Kusolwa.

He added that in the long run Tanzania will have no option but to adopt the use of GM seeds.

Kusolwa said as a government institution, it is their duty to make sure that students at the university are offered with new technology that will allow them to understand the new technologies of plant breeding.

Responding to whether embracing GM seeds was going to solve the problem of food security in Tanzania, Kusolwa said there was hope that part of problem is associated with the scarcity of food.

"With GM technology, it is easy to find a gene that is resistant to pest as well as drought tolerance and this might help to increase production in areas with insufficient rainfall as well as pests in crops," he said.

Sokoine University of Agriculture has in the recent past involved in different research projects aimed at improving both small scale farmers produce and bringing them the best storage practices for their crops.

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