Brief 53: Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2017

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and PG Economics, Ltd. released new studies highlighting the continued social, environmental and economic benefits of the global adoption of biotechnology in agriculture. The complementary studies examine the continued widespread adoption of global crop biotechnology, and the significant positive socio-economic and environmental impacts of this adoption by farmers and communities around the globe. The ISAAA report shows the global biotech crop area increased in 2017 by 3 percent or 4.7 million hectares. This increase is due primarily to greater profitability stemming from higher commodity prices, increased market demand both domestically and internationally, and the presence of available seed technologies. Get the full publication here

Gene Drives for Malaria Control and Elimination in Africa

This document by New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) examines the use of gene drive technology for the control and elimination of malaria in Africa. The report launched by the African Union (AU) High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) begins by examining the burden of malaria; the gains so far accrued from existing interventions notably vector control, and the need for complementary tools. Gene drive technology has been identified as a potential new option to augment existing interventions in pursuance of achieving the African Union Agenda 2063. This document provides an overview of gene drive as a technology, its readiness for implementation, as well as essential testing pathways and implementation strategies at both country and regional levels, taking into consideration all the possible socio-cultural and ethical issues. Given that there may be potential risks associated with the use of genetic modification technologies, a risk analysis and risk management system has been proposed, mindful of the overwhelming health benefits to be derived from the technology. To ensure safety and the appropriate deployment of this technology, recommendations have been made with regard to policy regulatory systems. Get the full publication here

Drones on the Horizon: Transforming Africa’s Agriculture

This report by New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) provides a contextualized review of drones as a vital precision agriculture-enabling technology and its range of relevant uses for providing detailed and on-demand data in order to enhance decision-making by farmers and hence facilitate much needed support. Drones for precision agriculture is a farming management concept which is based upon measuring and responding to inter- and intra-field variability in crop and animal production. It is not just the application of new technologies, but rather it is an information revolution that can result in a more precise and effective farm management system. Drones, described as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial system (UAS), the latter including the sensor, software, and so forth, have many applications. These include, but are not limited to, land mapping and surveying, land tenure and land use planning, inspection monitoring and surveillance, cargo delivery, scientific research, management of agricultural assets and insurance and crop/infrastructure damage assessment. Get the full publication here