Senegal Ready for GMOs, Says President Macky Sall
The President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall has made it clear that he strongly supports the adoption of biotechnology in the country provided necessary biosafety measures are taken. "I must say very clearly that I am for the use of GMOs in addressing our food security needs, so long as the necessary biosafety measures are put in place. Otherwise, we would be against progress, we must decide and step forward, '' said the President.
President Sall chaired the 2017 Annual Session of the Senegal National Scientific and Technical Academy (ANSTS) last month, aimed to present updates on the status, implications and perspectives of GMOs in Senegal. "Our new strategy for economic and social development is based on science and technology, which is essential for the progress and well-being of our people," he said. The President added that it is in this view that he sought informed opinion of the Academy on GMOs, which he observed, remains an important development issue.
While acknowledging that GMOs can help meet current challenges such as food insecurity, public health issues, environment conservation and climate change, he agreed with the ANSTS call to revise the biosafety regulations. "The precautionary principle must not lead to inertia. There is need to amend the 2011 law regulating biotechnology," he said. The President instructed the Minister for Environment to speed up the revision of Senegal's Biosafety Law.
The Vice-Chair of the Academy, Prof. Yaye Kene Gassama, presented the findings of a study carried out by the institution on the opportunities and risks for adopting biotechnology in Senegal at the session. Based on the study, 68% of the population in the country supported the adoption of GMOs, 21% were against and 11% had no expressed opinion. It is scientifically proven by reputable international institutions that GMOs are safe for food and feed as long as necessary biosafety measures are taken to minimize any potential environmental risks. The Session also provided an opportunity for the regional office of the New Partnership for Africa's Development agency-African Biosafety Network of Expertise in Dakar to access up-to-date information on the status of biotechnology and scientific research as well as meet members of the scientific community and decision makers of the country.
For more information on the event and biosafety trends in Africa contact Dr. Jeremy Ouedraogo, Director NEPAD-ABNE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)