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African states blamed for poor funding of research

By | September 10th 2010

By Dedan Okanga

Environmental conservation and biotechnological advances dominated presentations at Moi University’s Sixth Annual International Conference.

Prominent African scholars and others from the industrialised world said the customary reliance on natural elements for food production was cause for the perennial shortages on the continent. African governments were roundly blamed for their poor funding of research in areas of environment and food production, and for politicising research findings.

"The result is that we now experience massive brain drain with 50,000 African holders of PhDs living and working in the industrialised world," said Prof Bethwel Ogot, Moi University Chancellor.

Adopting and domesticating friendly technology, according to speakers, would shield the economy from the perils of adverse weather.

"Kenya’s population now nears 40 million, yet its food reserves and production are uncertain and heavily reliant on weather patterns," said Kalukya Ndubi, a researcher.

Proponents and critics of genetically modified Organisms (GMO) locked horns as they debated the merits of the technology.

nutritional problems

Environmentalists insisted recent studies show GMO foods could contain toxins and could lead to new diseases and nutritional problems.

"Research has found that GMOs are ‘seeds of deception’ that in the long term could decimate humanity," said a presenter.

Those who supported the technology, however, said it could help in mass food production to help the starving millions in the continent.

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