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SA farmers to use more GMOs

Grain SA says this may help farmers protect themselves against droughts in the future.

FILE: Grain SA says this may help farmers protect themselves against droughts in the future. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Grain SA said South African farmers must make use of more Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) during farming to protect themselves against droughts in the future.

The organisation said 85 percent of South Africa's maize meal contains GMOs.

This year's maize harvest has been almost completely decimated by a drought gripping the Free State, the North West and Mpumalanga.

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said genetically modified farming techniques are being developed by his department and should be adopted by the industry.

"We are working with the department of technology in finding new methods by which we can improve new cultivars, the new seeds that are 20 percent resistant to drought."

Grain SA CEO Jannie De Villiers said climate change will only worsen in the future and farmers must adapt.

"What will the new technology bring to us is that mainly the plants will be able to hang in there until the end of February, so if we get rain, they will recover and then we will have a full crop again. So this is what farmers are looking for."

Agri SA said nearly R10 million has been lost by farmers due to the drought.

Grain SA adds many of them have successfully applied for loans to replant.

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