Biotech Updates

COMESA Consultative Workshops in Egypt and Sudan

January 7, 2011

National consultative workshops on the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Regional Biosafety Policies and Guidelines were held in Egypt (December 15-16, 2010) and Sudan (December 19, 2010). Mr. Amin Abaza, Egyptian Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, emphasized in his opening remarks that the COMESA region needs to have policies that would contribute to increased food security, interregional trade and environmental quality. "Policy makers need to have scientific evidences to make best decisions for the welfare of their people," the Minister noted. Egypt is the only COMESA Member State that has commercialized GM maize.

The Sudanese State Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mohamed Alloba, indicated that Sudan has interest in GM crops to improve its agricultural productivity and has approved its biosafety law. "We are yet to institutionalize our biosafety system; therefore we look forward to collaborate with COMESA to accelerate the realization of our desire to the safe utilization of GM crops," the State Minister added. Dr. Abdelbagi M. Ali, Director of Sudan Biotechnology Research Center, expressed full support of his country to the regional approach. "Sudan supports the regional approach for its own advantages, but the harmonization process needs to speed up since we are in a hurry to embrace the GM technology," said Dr. Abdelbagi.

COMESA is a regional economic block composed of 19 member states. The national consultations will continue until March 2011.

Email Getachew Belay, senior biotechnology policy advisor, Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) at for additional information.