Biotech Updates

University Students in Uganda Debate on Biotech and Biosafety Bill

May 11, 2016

While debating on the motion, "Is the proposed National Biotechnology and Biosafety Law in the best interests of Ugandans?" Makerere University students argued that it was imperative for the country that the said law be passed after taking so long in Parliament. The bill has been in parliament waiting to be passed into law since 2012. Following lengthy deliberations, a section of the students contended that the bill be passed into law with a provision to be amended in future when a need arises. Opposers suggested further revision of the bill before it is passed particularly to address farmers' concerns as they felt that farmers were not accorded due participation in the bill process.

This was during a university students' debate organized by Uganda Biosciences Information Center (UBIC) on Modern Agricultural Biotechnology at Makerere University on May 4, 2016. Makerere University is one of the oldest and most prestigious public universities in Uganda. The debate was part of UBIC's efforts to create wider awareness on modern agricultural biotechnology among the youths in institutions of higher learning and the general public. Approximately 100 people including students and professors attended the event. There was a general consensus that the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, 2012 is in the best interests of Ugandans and as such should be passed into law without further ado. Passing the bill into law will allow for commercialization of GM crops such as cassava, bananas, maize, rice, and potatoes, which are currently under research.

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