Biotech Updates

UBIC Conducts Harmonization Meetings for Partners in Uganda

March 18, 2015

Uganda Biosciences Information Center (UBIC) successfully convened two meetings: one for team leaders of all biotech projects of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and another for all biotech communication partners in Uganda. The back-to-back meetings were held on February 4 and 5, respectively, with the aim of creating a forum for partners to meet and familiarize each other with the current status of on-going modern biotech research, take stock of the activities conducted to increase biotech awareness and interest among the public in 2014; but also to lay strategies on action plans for 2015.

The first meeting attracted participants from various NARO biotech projects including: Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA), Pro-Vitamin A and Banana Bacterial Wilt resistance projects, Nitrogen Efficient, Water Efficient, Salt Tolerant (NEWEST) Rice project, the Sweet Potato project working on resistance to Sweet Potato Virus Disease, and Virus Resistance Cassava for Africa (VIRCA).

During the meeting, UBIC Coordinator- Dr. Barbara Zawedde Mugwanya presented results of a baseline survey which was carried out in 2013 to establish the media, communication, and information preferences of members of the public in reference to biotechnology messages. From the findings of the survey and experiences from various projects, participants agreed that there was need to increase the profile of crop biotechnology research among the public through the Seeing-is-Believing strategy for champions in different target groups, grassroot outreach and increased mass media presence.

The second meeting for Biotechnology Communication Partners was organized in partnership with Uganda Biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium (UBBC). Participants developed a communication plan for 2015 and identified partnerships for implementing the various activities. Participants were from: UBIC, UBBC, NARO Biotech Center, Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, Program for Biosafety, Ministry of Agriculture, Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), SCIFODE, Ministry of Justice and the media.

For more details about biotechnology in Uganda, contact Barbara Mugwanya at