Crop Biotech Update

Parliamentary Journalists Support Dialogue on the Biotech and Biosafety Bill Passage in Uganda

April 6, 2017

Journalists ascribed to the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA), and members of the Uganda Agribusiness Alliance (UAA) have expressed their willingness to help readers and listeners to better understand biotechnology research work done in Uganda and the need for biosafety regulation. This was during a sensitization seminar on Biotechnology and Biosafety on March 20, 2017 at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Namulonge.

According to Dickens Okello, Vice President of UPPA, the seminar was a welcome initiative to teach the parliament reporters about biotechnology, to give members a platform to address their concerns and to become more conversant with the details of the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012 that is due for second-time tabling in Parliament. Sir Simon Muyanga Lutaaya, an official from UAA and producer on NBS TV, thanked the organizers for reaching out to journalists to teach them about the importance of biotech research at NaCRRI and he urged fellow journalists to pay more attention to biotechnology discourse in the country and use their platform to give accurate information. The journalists sought responses on the following questions:

  • Why has the government delayed passing the Bill?
  • How can GM crops help to mitigate climate change effects, the consultative process in drafting the Bill?
  • How would the researchers want journalists to help advance knowledge on biotechnology?

The journalists' seminar was organized by Uganda Biosciences Information Center (UBIC), with support from the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. About 40 journalists attended the seminar, from various leading media houses in Uganda. Dr. Godfrey Asea, the Director of NaCRRI, highlighted the relevance of the biotech crops research done at NaCRRI. Dr. Barbara Zawedde, UBIC's Coordinator, gave a global overview of biotech application and regulation and led a discussion to address the concerns of the journalists. Ms. Harriet Ityang from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs highlighted the provisions in the National Biotech and Biosafety Bill, emphasizing the need for Uganda to domesticate international protocols to ensure safety nets in the event of risk from GMOs.

For more information, please contact the UBIC Coordinator on info@ubic.ug.