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03.06.2020 |

GMO debate is democratic test for liberalizing Ethiopia

As the government controversially opens Ethiopia to genetically modified crops, now is the time for newly unshackled civil society voices to lead the debate

A coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations and their global allies have launched a campaign against the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms in Ethiopia.

The public outcry started when United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service published a report that revealed that the government had approved commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) insect-resistant cotton (Bt-cotton) and confined trial of GM enset and maize in Ethiopia.

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On the ground, Ethiopia has the biggest national genebank in Africa, which was established in 1976. As of June 2019, the national genebank in Addis Ababa has conserved about 86,599 samples of seeds of over 100 species of plants (mainly food crops) that have been collected from all over the country. In two field genebanks, the country has conserved 5,644 samples of coffee plants.

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