Blight-resistant GMO potatoes could reduce pesticide use in Uganda

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Uganda is steadily progressing towards having a potato that will not require chemical spraying.

According to Dr Alex Barekye, who is the director of Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute in Kabale District, this new variety has shown great results in resisting late Blight disease that is a menace in potato growing areas.

The new GM potato will keep chemicals off the crops and that means farmers who could not afford chemicals will now begin to harvest more. The chemical companies will lose and farmers will gain, contrary to the saying that GMOs are all about chemicals and multinational corporations, and not for farmers.

Uganda, despite the high number of research trials, ratification of Cartagena protocol on Biosafety in 2001, and the passing by Cabinet of Biosafety Policy in 2008, remains a laggard in having a domesticated comprehensive regulatory framework for genetic engineering research developments.

As in most African countries, the major adoption challenge is the political will. Political will is seen in action not utterances. The delay in passing the Biosafety Bill and the further delay by the President to assent to the same could be interpreted as a “go slow” policy position. Going slow implies farmers will continue to suffer with pests and diseases.

Read full, original post: GM potato: Variety could deflate GMO myths’ bubble in Uganda

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