News Updates

Science & Technology News

The article was first published by The Daily Monitor August 21st, 2017
By Lominda Afedraru

There are efforts by scientists in agricultural sector in Uganda to breed key crops using conventional and biotechnology mechanism in a bid for farmers to grow crops which are resistant to pests and diseases and tolerant to drought to achieve improved yields.

Scientists from the National Agricultural Research Organistation (NARO) have been breeding hybrid varieties of crops like maize, cassava, rice, sweet potato, banana among others which farmers  grow countrywide.

There has also been an initiative by the scientists who breed these crops using modern biotechnology approach mainly addressing issues of pests and diseases, drought tolerance and food nutrient.

They include banana resistant against bacterial wilt, nematodes and black sigatoka, cassava against Cassava Brown Streak Virus(CBSV) and Cassava Mosaic Virus (CMV), banana rich in Vitamin A and Iron, Irish potatoes against bacterial blight, maize resistance against maize stalk borer and drought tolerance and herbicide resistant cotton against ball worm.


Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has today been recognized as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.

A celebrated agricultural development expert, Dr Adesina held several positions at CGIAR Research Centers in his career, including the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and AfricaRice.

He has been instrumental in his ongoing support of CGIAR while in key positions at the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria – which he has used to galvanize political will to transform African agriculture – as well as in his current role as President of the African Development Bank.

“Today at CGIAR we celebrate with Dr Adesina. We recognize his long standing personal and professional commitment to agricultural development and celebrate his continued and unwavering support for the work of CGIAR,” said Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director of the CGIAR System Organisation.

Details: CGIAR congratulates food price winner.


1. Introduction

The National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012 is now before the 10th Parliament for consideration and enactment. This is a highly technical Bill that for long has endured relentless highly emotive campaigns against Biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

To enable Members appreciate the context, purpose and content of the Bill, and debate and enact the law on the basis of clarity and objective information, I have prepared this scientific background information that frames and contextualizes the Bill.

I have done this not because some foreign entity is paying me to enact the law as some claim about MPs. HELL NO! Those who know Prof. Latigo well know that this can never be the case. I am doing this because this Bill is necessitated by the needs of our country that we as Parliamentarians are obligated under the Constitution to address by enacting appropriate laws.

More importantly, I saw the potential of Molecular Biology as long ago as the late-1980s when I was winding up my Ph.D. studies at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi. In 1996, as an Academic in Makerere University, I became the Focal Point on Biotechnology and a Founding Member of the National Biosafety Committee of the National Council for Science and Technology. I served the Council for 10 years (part of it when I was an MP in the 7th Parliament), and only resigned in 2006 when I became the Leader of Opposition.


For close to a year now, I have noticed that some sections of the media (both print and electronic) continue to refer to the Ministry of Education and Sports as the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports or simply Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. This is very erroneous and below public expectation on the part of the media who are supposed to be on top of news and information. The President of Uganda in June 2016 created a new Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI). He did not only do that but he at the same time appointed Uganda’s first ever Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation one Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye—an epidemiologist and an accomplished scientist in his own right. Further, during the not so recent overhaul of Permanent Secretaries, Mr. O.O. Obong—a seasoned and accomplished civil servant was appointed as MoSTI’s first Permanent Secretary. MoSTI’s current offices are located at Science and Technology House on Plot 5 Kimera Road in Ntinda. The science fraternity is pleased with these developments, and although much is not yet out, I guess a lot is in the cooking by this new sector as we aspire to transform Uganda into a mid-level income Country in not so distant future. I implore the media to visit the Ministry and tell the public what is in the cooking pot or what has been accomplished so far. A year is not a short time.

Arthur Makara


Page 2 of 5


Address :

Plot 27 Nakasero Road, 1st Floor, Uganda National Farmers’ Federation Building, Nakasero, Kampala

Phone :



This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Flickr Gallery


SCIFODE produces a Quarterly e-Newsletter of Science & Technology. Subscribe to Receive Updates on Science & Technology
Subscribe now