By Edwin Nwanojuo
About 800 million people are currently suffering from hunger in the world, and some 2 billion suffer from some type of important nutritional deficiency.
Africa has suffered from food shortage which has led to malnutrition, hunger and poverty especially among the larger population who are extremely poor.
Conventional crops which has been the sources of nutrition among families in Africa, has over the years become less productive due to some natural factors.
Genetic modification can improve the nutritional profile of food and therefore serves as a key element in reducing global rates of malnutrition.
For instance, golden rice is enhanced with beta-carotene and therefore provides a dose of vitamin A, a nutrient lacking in many diets around the world. Vitamin A deficiency leads to the death of nearly 700,000 children each year, so golden rice is a crucial initiative in reducing malnutrition.
Additionally, in India, using BT corn led to the consumption of more nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, and animal products because of increased incomes.
Another study in India showed that each hectare of BT cotton increased caloric intake by 74 calories per person per day and that 7.93 per cent of households using BT cotton were food insecure as opposed to 19.94 per cent of those using non-GM cotton.
Genetically modified crops have been proven to increase yield, fight diseases and pests, thereby improving the nutritional content of crops.
African children need food with high nutritional deposit to fight malnutrition, hunger and some diseases that are associated with low quality food.
It is pertinent for African leaders to use this year’s children’s day to chart on how to provide food with high nutritional content to the African child.
A malnourished child cannot be productive, a malnourished child cannot be innovative, a malnourished child cannot be learn and a malnourished child cannot compete favourably.
Biotechnology provides solution to most of the nutritional deficit in some plants. Some GM crops have been developed to address nutritional deficiency in crops.
The time to save the African child is now, leaders should understand that these children will become leaders tomorrow, and a malnourished child cannot lead.