Crop Biotech Update

Uganda's President Calls for Adoption of GM Crops in the Country

July 27, 2016

While officially opening the 24th edition of the Annual National Agricultural and Trade Show on July 14, 2016, President Yoweri Museveni analyzed what confuses Ugandans about GM technology, which involves transferring genes from one plant into another plant of economic interest,  and to impart better qualities in the crop. He further called upon parliament to pass the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill into law to allow Ugandan farmers gain access to GM crops.

The event which ran from July 11-17, 2016 under the theme, "Promoting Sustainable Agricultural Land Management for Agricultural Transformation and Wealth Creation," set a platform for displaying and identifying innovations made by local and foreign companies through improved technologies for better agricultural production, marketing, and poverty eradication. Uganda Biosciences Information Center (UBIC) showcased various agricultural research tools/products and their relevance along the commodities' value chain in the country. During the week-long event some 500 local and international exhibitors, policy makers, farmers, students, and the general public visited the biotechnology stall.

Participants were disappointed to learn that the current policy environment in the country does not allow general use of what they saw as very useful crop varieties that they desperately need to address crop production challenges. They also acknowledged the need for a regulatory system to ensure effective and sustainable use of the biotechnology tools.

During the event, the President launched a new maize variety, Drought Tego, a conventional WEMA variety that is more tolerant to long dry spells than most hybrids currently in Ugandan markets. The President applauded the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) for the work done towards addressing farmers' challenges and their efforts towards improving the quality of agricultural outputs.

For more details, contact the UBIC coordinator at ubic.nacrri@gmail.com.