Uganda progresses in ag biotech research but lags behind in implementation

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The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

Kenya is about to lift the ban on GMOs while Uganda is yet to pass the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill. But Uganda’s government has been supporting biotechnology research at agricultural research institutions for donkey’s years. It has set up laboratories, and trained scientists. Yet, ironically, the government is taking its time to put in place a law to regulate implementation of the results of their research.

Uganda has more reason than Kenya to resort to biotechnology in search of a solution to its agricultural challenges. Two of Uganda’s major food crops, cassava and bananas, are facing extinction thanks to the Banana Bacterial Wilt, Cassava Mosaic, and Cassava Brown Streak Disease all of which have proven impossible to eradicate with the use of pesticides and ordinary control measures. However, Ugandan scientists have come up with disease-resistant varieties. They have also been able to generate banana varieties enhanced with iron and Vitamin A to address malnutrition.

Sadly, however, as the diseases continue to spread and reduce food production, and as the population suffers from the effects of malnourishment, the Parliament is dragging its feet in passing the regulatory law to enable the varieties to reach the farmers.

In an article written by Nina Fedoroff, former advisor to US Secretary of State, in Agriculture and Food Security journal, she stated “GM crops are arguably the safest new crops ever introduced into the human and animal food chains.”

In the case of Uganda, which has one of the highest fertility rates in Africa, it is not just its population that has sharply increased but its food crops are drastically reducing.

Read full, original post: Acceptance of GM crops spreads as agricultural challenges increase

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