Tanzania’s ban on GMO crop trials will set biotech research back a decade, scientists say

Screen Shot at PM
Farmer Salma Seleman with her drought-failed maize crop. Chambezi village, Bagamoyo, Tanzania. (Photo: Hannah Smith Walker, Cornell Alliance for Science)

An air of resignation characterized reactions …. to the government’s surprise ban on all genetically modified organism (GMO) trials in the country.

Members of the research community were in shock that the government did not only ban ongoing trials on GM seeds but also directed the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (Tari) to immediately destroy evidence of the research.

[N]ewly appointed Agriculture minister Japheth Hasunga told The Citizen …. that Tari had contravened government approval procedures. “They were supposed to give my ministry the findings which in turn would have consulted with other ministries to satisfy ourselves that the said GM seeds were safe …. ”

Tanzania has been carrying out GM seeds confined field trials for maize in Makutopora in [the] Dodoma Region and for cassava at the Mikocheni Agriculture Research Institute in Dar es Salaam.

Related article:  New gene-editing technique eliminates GMO 'delivery vehicle' for CRISPR crops

[November 21’s] move by the government, the researchers argued, will set back by over a decade efforts in the country to advance …. biotechnology.

Among several groups, the Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture was the latest to tour Makutopora centre where members, including former Trade minister Mary Nagu praised the results that the research had attained …. For her part, Dr Nagu said critics of GM technology were politicizing the matter while Tari director general Godfrey Mkamilo asked the government to give a go-ahead for other GMO trials across the country.

Read full, original article: Tanzania: Shock As Government Bans GMO Trials

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