Crop Biotech Update

Uganda Minister Appeals for Speedy Approval of Biosafety Bill

March 30, 2012

The Ugandan Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Prof. Z.M Nyiira, has called upon the National Council for Science and Technology to proactively work with the Ministry of Finance in spearheading approval of the biosafety bill by the Cabinet. The Minister made this appeal at a regional meeting organized by the NEPAD Agency, African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE) in collaboration with the IFPRI Program for Biosafety Systems. The meeting was held on 19-20 March 2012 in Entebbe, Uganda.

The meeting brought together leading biotechnology and biosafety stakeholders and providers of technical assistance, to share experiences and analyze the key capacity building needs and emerging challenges, in the development and implementation of workable regulatory frameworks at national and sub-regional levels. It  aimed to strengthen the alignment among biosafety service providers and stakeholders to build future collaborative efforts in biosafety capacity development.

"The Government has identified biotechnology as a tool that can help meet the goals of national development and contribute towards enhanced food security," the Minister said. It established a functional National Biosafety Committee (NBC) which has adequate capacity and expertise to assess GMOs objectively. 

The Minister underscored the need to continue building capacity in core areas as Uganda advances towards delivering biotechnology products. He cited anti-biotechnology activism as a major hindrance to biotechnology advancement in Africa. "It is time to allay fears that biotechnology is not safe", he stressed.

For more information, contact Prof. Diran Makinde, Director, NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network of Expertise, at diran.makinde@nepadbiosafety.net.