Events

Events at SCIFODE

By Peter Wamboga-Mugirya
The UN’s World Food Day (WFD) celebrations in Uganda highlighted the nation’s homegrown scientific initiatives and strong farmer support for public agricultural biotechnology as millions of citizens watched the live-televised event.

Vicent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, (MAAIF), took the lead in informing the nearly 500-strong audience that Uganda had advanced food crop research and development techniques via genetic engineering (GE) and will soon deliver better varieties, with higher production and productivity capacity when well-managed by farmers.

The Minister, who is in charge of Uganda’s largest employment sector, told his attentive audience that the GE techniques will not only boost food security, but also ensure food safety from biotech crops, superintended by the recently-approved National Biosafety Law. The audience was predominantly farmers, United Nations (UN) diplomats, local administrators, religious and civic leaders, school children, mothers and teachers.

The Article was first published on the Alliance for Science website 

https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/uganda-marks-world-food-day-major-gmo-education-event

The article  was first published by Christopher Bendana Oct. 6, 2017.
KAMPALA—Biotech researchers here are celebrating the long-awaited passage of a bill this week that clears the way for large-scale field tests and commercial release of genetically modified (GM) crops. Uganda, with several engineered varieties waiting in the wings, is expected to join a handful of other African nations moving quickly to bring homegrown GM foods to the market.
Introduced in parliament in 2013, Uganda’s National Biosafety Act lays out a framework for regulating biotechnology, including the creation of a national scientific committee to oversee GM research. Critics argued that the legislation would threaten food security by ceding control of commercial seeds to foreign companies. They also claimed that GM foods would not be palatable, and that the engineered genes might escape into the environment and taint native varieties. Seeking to tamp down concerns, Uganda’s science minister Elioda Tumwesigye said at a press briefing here today that the government would safeguard indigenous crops by banking their seeds. “We may need them in the future as a standing point as we go on modifying,” he said.

Full article 

By Michael J. Ssali

Last week, Uganda hosted a three-day high-level conference on the application of science, technology, and innovation in harnessing African agricultural transformation at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
It attracted delegates from across the world, mainly agricultural biotechnology scientists, farmers’ group leaders, senior science journalists, entrepreneurs, and politicians, among others.
The theme of the conference was: “Integrating the path in Africa’s agricultural transformation.”
The event also coincided with celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) a major advocate and supporter of innovative technologies for agricultural transformation.
The celebrations included the recognition of journalists from across Africa for their committed effort in explaining agricultural biotechnology to the public.

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