Biotech Updates

TAAS Holds Dialogue on Agri-biotech

November 14, 2012

Scientists and policy makers participated in a public dialogue on agricultural biotechnology last week, organized by the Tanzania Academy of Sciences (TAAS). This activity was part of the recommendations at a consultative workshop on climate change, conducted by TAAS wherein the participants called into attention the delays on decisions about GM technology. One of the main issues about GM technology is the country's "strict liability" clause in the 2009 biosafety regulatory regime which holds all in the supply line to be liable to legal sanctions if something goes wrong in the development of GM products.

In the dialogue, the participants agreed on one point - the issue is not to pursue commercialization of GM products or not, but the main concern is the safety of GM products. Dr. Hassan Mshinda, head of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), expressed his worry about the delays in decision on GM technology. "If we don't move fast … we are out," he said.