GMOs and sustainable development in the DRC: State of play and perspectives
Abstract: In sub-Saharan and central Africa, maize is the most important cereal grown in subsistence agriculture. However, maize production is subject to significant production losses. DRC has never attained food self-sufficiency and the Congolese state is obliged to use relatively large quantities of food aid and imports, especially from neighboring countries and South Africa, to fill the deficit. Some of the imported food products, such as maize, are likely to contain GMOs, which is unknown to many economic operators. They also ignore the existence of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety of GMO Maize. The policy adopted by DRC regarding the management of the environment in general and the use of modern biotechnology and GMOs in particular rests essentially on the precautionary principle and on other general principles of international law of the environment. Particular emphasis has also been placed on the establishment of a phytosanitary protection framework (for intensive GM crops), as well as on improving the business climate (e.g., Bukanga Lonzo’s mini markets). It goes without saying that, in the short to medium term, food crops will still require the necessary attention in the fight against food insecurity. This requires effective agronomic research, large-scale production of improved seedlings and seeds (including GMO maize varieties with high yield) and better agricultural management.