Biotechnology in Africa

Volume 7 of the series Science Policy Reports pp 37-51


Opportunities and Challenges of Commercializing Biotech Products in Egypt: Bt Maize: A Case Study

  • Shireen K. AssemAffiliated withAgricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute Email author 

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GM technology has been developed to solve the problems of hunger and poverty, and also to create job opportunities and improve the quality of life in developing countries. In agriculture, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are developed to possess several desirable traits, such as resistance to pests, herbicides, and harsh environmental conditions, improved product shelf life, increased nutritional value, and possession of traits for production of valuable goods such as drugs (pharming). Egypt was one of the few countries to realize in the 1980s the importance of GM crops in achieving sustainable agriculture. Technology transfer and building capacities for the development of agricultural crops through biotechnology started in the early 1990s. In 2008, Egypt approved the cultivation and commercialization of a Bt maize variety, marking the first legal introduction of GM crop into the country. The case of commercialization of Bt maize in Egypt is very unique. It has been 5 years since the first approval for commercialization of this biotech product in Egypt; it is important to discuss the current situation of this biotech product in the Egyptian market and evaluate the benefits for the farmers and the consumers after the adoption of this product. It is also important to highlight the constraints in commercializing this product, and the opportunity for adoption and commercialization of other biotech products in the Egyptian market in the future.


Bt maize GM maize GMO Agricultural biotechnology Public–private partnership Egypt