Biotech Updates

OFAB Africa Launches Burkina Faso Chapter

November 7, 2012

The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa has added a sixth chapter to its growing family. The new OFAB Burkina Faso chapter was launched on 22 October 2012 making it the first chapter in a Francophone African country. The launch was presided over by the country's Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation, Hon. Prof Gnissa Isaie Konate, and the Executive Director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Dr. Denis Kyetere.

"We remain convinced that biotechnology in general and the agricultural biotechnology in particular can be used as a powerful engine for agricultural growth. These technologies can be used to efficiently overcome the challenges related to population growth, climate change, yield decrease, food insecurity and poverty," said Hon. Prof. Gnissa Isaie Konate during the launch. The minister also underscored the importance of OFAB in promoting experience-sharing on biotechnology, public awareness, understanding, and attitude change towards genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which he said, are crucial to sustainable deployment of biotech crops to small-scale farmers in Africa. "A platform like OFAB will in no doubt significantly contribute to the understanding of the importance of agricultural biotechnology, " Prof Konate added.

While speaking at the launch, the AATF Executive Director Dr. Denis Kyetere decried the negative debate on biotechnology in Africa, arguing that it was slowing down the uptake of agricultural biotechnology in the continent. He noted that for Africa to be in a position to harness the benefits of this powerful technology, the debate should focus on policies and strategies that need to be initiated to push forward the use of the technology as well as the nature of investments that should be made by individual countries.

The launch was also attended by 52 participants from Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia who were attending ISAAA AfriCenter's annual study tour to Burkina Faso's renowned Bt cotton fields.

For more information on OFAB Africa, contact: Daniel Otunge, OFAB Africa coordinator, at