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Crop Biotech Update

Uganda Launches 2013 Global Status Report

April 2, 2014

The Uganda country launch of ISAAA Report Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops for 2013 was held on 28 March 2014 at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala. The Honorable Minister of State for Agriculture,  Zerubabel M. Nyiira presided over the occasion that drew a host of distinguished personalities from government, civil society organizations, research, and media fraternities.

The keynote address, delivered by Dr. Charles Mugoya, Programme Manager, Agrobiodiversity and Biotechnology Programme - Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) - underscored the continuing rise in biotech crop adoption worldwide, with 5 million more hectares of biotech crops grown in 2013 alone, representing a 3 percent increase in total GM crop hectarage globally.  Dr. Maxwell Otim-Onapa, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), recapitulated the achievements made by the Government in building human and infrastructural capacity in agri-biotech over the years, as well as progress in establishing an enabling policy and legal framework for judicious application of biotechnology in Uganda.

Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa, the Chairman of the National Planning Authority reiterated the need to embrace scientific innovations in the face of the imminent effects of climate change and a rapidly growing population. The Honorable Minister, in his inaugurating speech, noted that there has been an over 100-fold increase in the global adoption of GM crops since their inception in1996 and that they were now being grown by up to 18 million farmers in 27 countries, accounting for a total area of 175 .2million hectares. He emphasized that with the right balance of political, industrial, media and scientific leadership, biotechnology could be harnessed to meet the national development aspirations of growing the rural economy, sustainably harnessing Uganda's natural resources, increasing the livelihood of the population.

The launch was organized by the Uganda Biosciences Centre (UBIC)-NaCRRI and ISAAA in conjunction with local partners including the OFAB-Uganda Chapter, Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), PBS, SciFODE, and UBBC.

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Barbara M. Zawedde at ubic.nacrri@gmail.com.