African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF) has called for the adoption of new technology in farming in order to alleviate the country’s perennial food shortages that have mainly been attributed to the effects of adverse weather and pest invasion.

Canisius Kanangire, AATF executive director said farmers and food production systems are facing numerous challenges, including climate-induced effects on water resources, insect pest pressure, and increased disease burden across crops and its value chains.

Dr Kanangire said the effect of all these is a 30 percent decline in food production, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation global estimates, with African countries accounting for the largest share of the losses.

Dr Canisius Kanangire, executive director of AATF. Photo (courtesy).
Dr Canisius Kanangire, executive director of AATF. Photo (courtesy).

“New technologies can help our food systems become more sustainable and efficient as highlighted by the 2022 World Economic Forum which also reminded us that the agricultural sector, in general, has fallen behind in technology adoption compared to other sectors.

In Kenya, food insecurity is a recurring issue, with an estimated 4.4 million people facing high levels of acute food insecurity in the arid and semi-arid regions,” said Dr Kanangire on Wednesday when he met different stakeholders for a GMO awareness forum.

He said investments in modern agricultural technologies can cut farmers’ losses to pests and diseases while also increasing resilience against climate variability and guaranteeing an adequate return on investment, hence strengthening the case for agriculture as a business.

Secretary-General of the Kenya University Biotechnology said embracing technology will help Kenyans to have access to food, which is a basic human right.

“Biotechnology will give us options and enough food to fight hunger in the country,” said Dr Ochieng.

Scientists in Kenya have developed Bt maize variety that are drought tolerant and insect resistant, which can withstand the effects of harsh climatic conditions and stalk borer pests.

Richard Oduor, a professor at Kenyatta University said Genetically Modified Organisms can play a key role in ensuring food security in the country, only that there has been miscommunication that has created doubts to consumers.

AATF is a champion for agricultural technology, with a long history of supporting public-private partnerships that enable farmers to access yield-enhancing technologies.

It has worked with the government of Kenya and local partners to undertake research and explore commercialisation pathways for Water Efficient Maize varieties (known as DroughtTego), hybrid rice varieties, and stem-borer resistant maize varieties that significantly reduce farmers’ losses.