Africa takes fresh look at GMO crops as drought blights continent
* GMO crops could increase African harvests
* Millions face hunger as drought scorches parts of Africa
* Perceptions on GM crops slowly changing
* Transition from lab tests to commercial GM growing slow
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, Jan 7 (Reuters) - A scorching drought in Southern Africa that led to widespread crop failure could nudge African nations to finally embrace genetically modified (GM) crops to improve harvests and reduce grain imports.
The drought, which extends to South Africa, the continent's biggest maize producer, has been exacerbated by an El Nino weather pattern and follows dry spells last year that affected countries from Zimbabwe to Malawi.
Aid agency Oxfam has said 10 million people, mostly in Africa, face hunger because of droughts and poor rains.
That has brought GM crops to the fore, especially maize, a staple crop grown and consumed in most sub-Saharan countries. Continuación...