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Ugandan scientists divided on GMO bill

| | August 14, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Going by the contradicting views from various stakeholders including disagreements among scientists, Parliament will have an uphill task in refining the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill to especially safeguard the interests of Uganda against the interests of multinational seed giants like Monsanto.

Amidst opposition from fellow scientists, some scientists attempted to allay fears from MPs and other stakeholders on the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill which seeks to legalize GMO products in Uganda. Responding to the fear of the hidden interests of multinational seed giants, Dr. Yona Baguma, the NARO research coordinator, explained that Uganda scientists have the capacity to develop their own GMO products.

But another scientist, Dr. Joseph Okia from Mulago Hospital, said, “we are not opposing use of science to solve problems.”

“Our opposition is to Monsanto and those that represent Monsanto’s interests like Bill and Melinda Gates,” Okia said. “We should restrict introduction of GMOs to only our scientists.”

Dr. Maxwell Otim, the deputy executive secretary for National Council for Science and Technology said, “we have competent scientists who are well equipped to protect Uganda’s interests. Of course GMOs have negative side effects, but we shall have mechanisms in place to test GMOs and ensure that only those that are safe are allowed into our market.”

Read the full, original article: Scientists disagree on GMO Bill

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