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Crop Biotech Update

Interregional Biotech Exchange Program to Promote Product Stewardship

May 7, 2010

An intraregional biotechnology exchange program among Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania was launched through a workshop organized by the Africa Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum (ABSF) in Kenya on April 29, 2010. The workshop which aimed to promote product stewardship and sustainable agriculture in the three countries was attended by more than 40 stakeholders. The workshop focused on best practices and lessons learnt in Kenya and were shared with stakeholders from Uganda and Tanzania, including how different institutions and organizations (public and private) have developed capacity in handling biotechnology development processes.

The participants visited biotech facilities at Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, the Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Africa-Harvest tissue culture banana farmers. They also requested Kenyan counterparts to assist them in drafting their own national biotechnology awareness strategy.

Participants advocated for the continuation of the exchange program. They recognized the need for a harmonized biosafety framework in the region to deal with issues related to transboundary movements of transgenic crops in east African countries which are likely to occur with GM commercialization in 2012-2013. They recommended undertaking joint research and GM field trials between regional partners. In addition, they recognized media as a key driver of awareness and change in perceptions about biotechnology such that they should be involved in awareness programs.

For more information, contact Felix Mmboyi of ABSF at fmmboyi@gmail.org or fmmboyi@absfafrica.org