As Uganda debates GMO safety, its scientists boost food production in neighboring countries

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Image credit: Lominda Afedraru/Daily Monitor

When Dr. Geoffrey Arinaitwe returned home after earning his PhD in biotechnology in Belgium in 2005, Uganda seemed a promising place for young scientists.

The country was deliberately prioritizing science and technology — disciplines envisioned as a vehicle to facilitate its goal of shifting from a peasant to a middle-income economy.

It has been 13 years since he returned and dedicated the prime of his career to developing crop varieties aimed at thwarting famine. But none of the work done by …. biotech researchers has reached farmers, partly because …. the country can’t make a decision on a biosafety bill that would guide commercialization of genetically modified (GM) organisms ….

Arinaitwe noted that he and other scientists had worked to develop improved varieties of staple food crops so hungry, malnourished children in [Uganda] and other parts of …. Africa …. would have access to more nutritious food.

Related article:  Despite activist opposition, Ghana's scientists seek government approval for GM insect-resistant cowpea

“Now we have the alternatives. But we cannot get them to farmers. And children continue to get malnourished,” [he] said ….

[T]he scientists are working with researchers outside of Uganda, in countries where biosafety laws are already in place, to advance the technology …. If Ugandan biotech researchers can’t have their work rolled out to farmers in their own country, they’re at least finding the rest of the world is more receptive.

Read full, original article: Ugandan researchers share their frustration as nation debates GMO bill

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