Crop Biotech Update

Farmer Leaders in Uganda Pledge Support for Agri Biotechnology

February 17, 2016

Farmer leaders from all regions of Uganda have formed a grassroots forum supporting agricultural biotechnology during a three-day workshop organized by the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) on February 3-5, 2016. Workshop activities included plenary presentations on biotechnology and visits to laboratories and field trials of genetically modified crops. The participants were farmer leaders from the National Farmers' Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (NAFFAB).

The forum will sensitize farmers on the use of biotechnology in addressing agricultural challenges, and mobilize Ugandan farmers to petition the members of their Parliament to pass a law for the release of biotech crops from research stations to farmers' fields.

NAFFAB, comprising of more than 30 farmer leaders, was formed as a result of public sensitization workshops conducted by Uganda Biosciences Center (UBIC) and SCIFODE in the last three years. The workshops brought together scientists, farmers, politicians, religious leaders, and cultural leaders to discuss how biotechnology can address agricultural and environmental challenges.

The elected Chairperson for the forum, Mr. Dominic Etellu, ranked as one of Uganda's top 50 farmers in 2015, is from Serere district in Eastern Uganda. He requested members of the forum to be ambassadors of biotechnology when they return to their regions. He emphasized that it was high time farmers voice out their problems and demand for available solutions from relevant authorities.

For more information on agriculture in Uganda, contact the UBIC Coordinator at ubic.nacrri@gmail.com.