Uganda’s ruling party has approved a bill that will give the green light to super bananas and other genetically modified foods. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus has agreed on the controversial National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, signaling that Uganda will soon adopt a “GMO bill”, despite farmers’ and activists’ concerns.
The hotly debated GMO bill is a framework to regulate the production but also the import and export, of biotechnology products.
“The most important thing is that Uganda must follow this global trend in terms of technological advancement and put in place a regulatory framework,” explained ruling party MP Hamson Obua in a phone interview from Kampala. “Of recent our country has been faced with the challenges of drought, pests and diseases and our scientists have assured government that this is one of the remedies that can be put in place.”
The bill’s adoption by the NRM caucus guarantees its speedy passage in parliament.
Ugandan civil society groups would have liked the bill, drafted by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, to have explicit provisions on the labeling of GMOs, enabling the public to exercise their right to choose GMO-free products.
The draft legislation fails to explicitly state that whoever introduces a GMO shall be strictly liable for any damage caused, according to civil society groups like the Food Rights Alliance.
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