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GM Crop Successes in South Africa Offer Hope for Continent

South Africa was the first country on the continent to commercialise biotech production of cotton, maize and soybean in 2002 and is currently the largest producer of GM crops on the continent and the ninth largest producer of GM crops in the world.

Although opinions about GM crops tend to differ, based on production volumes, South Africa has seen tremendous gains. Before the introduction of GM maize, average yields in South Africa were around 2.4 tonnes per hectare, but these increased to around 5.3 tonnes per hectare in the 2013/2014 production year, which is the highest average commercial yield on the African continent to date.

Meanwhile, sub-Saharan African average maize yields have remained at levels below 2 tonnes per hectare. Much of this can be attributed to lack of GM crops adoption.


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