Crop Biotech Update

Tanzania Deputy Minister for Agri Advocates Adoption of Biotech in Agriculture

July 1, 2015

Tanzania's Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr. Godfrey Zambi, said that Tanzania cannot afford to ignore the benefits of biotechnology in developing various sectors of the economy, especially in agriculture. He said this during the launch of the ISAAA Brief 49: Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops 2014 in Dar es Salaam, on Wednesday June 16, 2015.

Hon. Zambi informed participants that the responsibility of the government is to partner with other stakeholders to ensure that the country has capacity for safe and progressive use of agri-biotech. The Deputy Minister said that this would help diffuse doubts of the people about the technology. He outlined the benefits of agricultural biotechnology such as improved nutrition, better animal health, competitive industries, and environmental conservation.

The Minister discussed various measures put in place by the government that ensure regulation of agri-biotech initiated in the year 2010 with an aim of strengthening capacity for the country in its quest to adopt GM crops. Hon. Zambi further stressed that the national government policy on agriculture 2013 identifies low public understanding of biotechnology as a key hindrance to adoption, adding that the policy aims at increasing awareness given that the agriculture sector is important to Tanzanians.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Emmarold Mneney, chief agricultural researcher of Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) said the main problem that researchers are experiencing in Tanzania is lack of adequate finances to conduct research, giving Uganda and Kenya as examples where considerable support has been channeled towards successful research on GM maize, cotton, and cassava.

For more information on the event, contact Dr. Nicholas Nyange, Deputy Director of Knowledge Management at the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) at