Passage of Ugandan biotech law opens access to vitamin-fortified, disease-resistant crops

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Bananas are sold at a market in Uganda

Genetically engineered crops that promise to benefit both farmers and consumers are poised to enter Uganda’s marketplace now that its Parliament has adopted a law to regulate agricultural biotechnology.

In Uganda, [Dr. Priver Namanya, head of the banana biofortification project at National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) in Kawanda, said] vitamin A-biofortified bananas have already proven successful in confined field trials, and the passage of the Biosafety Act will now allow her team to move on to multi-locational field trials in different areas of the country in partnership with local farmers.

People like the deep orange color of the fortified banana, she said, and the vitamin A also makes it softer, which adds to consumer appeal. Feeding and nutrition studies still must be conducted, but Namanya is optimistic that the fortified banana she has been working on for the past 13 years will finally be released to farmers by 2021…

Meanwhile, research is also well advanced in Uganda on matoke resistant to banana bacterial wilt (BBW), the top banana-killer disease in the Great Lakes region. NARO scientists have used genetic engineering to extract resistance genes from green pepper and introduce them into the popular M-9 hybrid variety.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Uganda biotech law opens door to disease-resistant GMO crops