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Editorial

Biotechnology

As we go to press, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled in favor of a case that was pending before it against the EU for enforcing rules that were unfavorable to genetically modified foods or associated products from the United States of America .

The ruling has since then seen many countries express their intention to lift any moratorium that appeared to operate against that ruling. A number of countries including Australia , Brazil , Argentina and others have taken measures that may encourage so many countries, hitherto opposed to GMOs. There is no doubt that the science of biotechnology is the most advanced yet in this century and is likely to lead to major technological breakthroughs in various aspects of scientific exploration.

At the beginning of our journal publishing, we had planned to have an issue devoted to biotechnology. That was back in 2003. We had to rescind the decision as we did not get enough authors willing to devote time for such an issue. Since that time, however, there has emerged a journal devoted to Biotechnology.

AJFAND's policy on biotechnology is that, it is one of the modern day technologies with real potential to make a difference in people's quality of life. We also believe that there does not as yet exist good justification to denying the poor-food, all over the world and especially Africa , the enormous benefits that are so far associated with this technology.

We should give it a chance. To show commitment in the fight against hunger and poverty, government must create biosafety legislation to deal with the likely uncontrolled influx of genetically modified materials. Saying No to GMO research or banning importation of associated foods, or making decisions that are based on emotion and little scientific knowledge will not do.

Food insecure countries should encourage collaborative research, training and capacity building of their scientist, who, having been fully equipped with the right information can then advise appropriately on the way forward. I would like to urge and encourage our young scientists to consider seriously venturing into biotechnology research.

In this issue, a number of topics are covered and range from child nutrition, through poultry nutrition, to food quality and safety. The journal covers diverse areas and indeed, that is why the name changed in the first place. Ours is a total health approach.

One paper describes its conclusions and demonstrates that pre-soaking of green peas in salty water improves taste and texture and substantially decreases cooking time. Legumes are a major food item especially among the poor all over the world. Yet, they take too long to cook, use up considerable amount of fuel energy and do not always taste good. Research is still on-going with a view to finding the most appropriate preparation methods that can facilitate provision and marketing of a most acceptable product.

Infant nutrition is an ever popular research topic and the weaning stage has always been problematic as that is the stage at which most children become malnourished as levels of food intake diminish. It is important to ensure weaning and supplementary foods which are high in nutrient levels to be able to sustain healthy nutrition for the very fast growing young children.

Why is poultry nutrition important? Because it matters to human beings. In this case, we are made aware of the types of feeding that can minimize poultry fat deposits. The rate of senior citizens in the rehabilitation and care of children is also emphasized. This is important to researchers, the African spirit of caring and sharing warns us not to just adopt individualistic type of living which tends to hurt the most vulnerable groups such as orphans, widows and very old people.

I will leave it to the reader to delve through all that we have in this tenth issue of AJFAND. It all makes exciting and interesting reading.

Just remember, our mandate is quite broad, and any article that addresses agriculture in all its Forces, food right through the whole food chain, nutrition, all aspects of it, and all of them on their own or as they relate to development are welcome. The whole idea is to try and link theory and research to development, with a view to generating solutions to Africa 's myriad problems.

We do have solutions, I believe. As we continue to write and share through this medium, let us suggest how to jumpstart positive development that can begin to eliminate hunger on our continent. Enjoy the reading.

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