Biotech Updates

Rwanda's Minister for Agri and Animal Resources Calls for a Biosafety Framework

June 29, 2016

Rwanda's Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana, has warned that GM crop imports, particularly maize and bananas, will enter in Rwanda as the country has no regulatory mechanisms to check such imports. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the just concluded Science Week of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Mukeshimana argued that Rwanda could soon face an influx of genetically modified crops from Kenya and Uganda, which are in the process of legalizing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

"We need to fast track our biosafety regulations to enable us to deal with GMOs once they are in the country. They [EAC member countries] are ahead in setting biosafety regulations, while we are still defining ours," said Dr. Mukeshimana. 

The 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa's general assembly was held on June 13-16, 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda. The four-day conference and exhibition whose theme was to "Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods" focused on the operationalization of the science agenda for agriculture in Africa at country level. The event brought together scientists, agriculturists, the private sector, and media, among others.

The president of the African Development Bank Group,  Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who received the FARA award at the event for outstanding contributions to the advancement of agricultural research for African development emphasized the need to invest more in agricultural research for improved efficiency. "Transforming African agriculture requires a research system that includes policies, comprehensive investments, infrastructure development and transformation of financial sector to ensure that we transform subsistence-based agriculture to market-oriented," he said. Dr. Adesina also added that Africa needs to be a processing center for agricultural produce instead of a consumption center.

Read the full story in All Africa. For more information on the FARA event, visit the website.