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Crop Biotech Update

Uganda's Ministry of Health Officials Urge Government to Pass Biosafety Law

February 26, 2020

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Uganda Medical Association, the National Drug Authority, and Uganda Pharmaceutical Society resolved that the government should pass a biosafety law to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The health officials were impressed by the biotech research and development especially technologies with health benefits such as micronutrient biofortified crops. This was during a sensitization workshop organized by Uganda Biosciences Information Center (UBIC) to discuss the relevance of agricultural biotechnology in medicine and industry.

During the workshop held on February 20, 2020 at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) and the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), the health officials expressed concern that technologies such as pro-vitamin A biofortified GMO banana were ‘sitting' in research centers and currently inaccessible to the public. "The government should pass the biosafety law for regulation of GMOs so that we can at least export products if the country doesn't need them," advised an official from the Uganda Pharmaceutical Society.

Uganda's National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) is prioritizing the development of nutrient-dense crop varieties. Other than the pro-vitamin A banana, conventionally bred iron and zinc-rich bananas as well as vitamin A biofortified sweet potato and cassava have been developed.

The health officials further pledged their support for biotech research and development to ensure food security and healthy livelihoods for all Ugandans. They asked NARO to reach out to them for any kind of support to this end.

For more details, contact the UBIC Coordinator at ubic.nacrri@gmail.com.

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