Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are at the centre of extraordinary controversy. The implications of these debates must be addressed by policy makers in the South. Concerns about GMOs include environmental impact, food safety, the control of agricultural technology, and the direction of agricultural change. Some of these issues require a strengthening of current regulatory systems while others can be addressed by well-informed agricultural policy and legal reform. But adequate regulatory and policy responses depend upon the generation and utilisation of good quality information.