By Henry Sekanjako
The food and agriculture organization (FAO) of the United Nations has warned Uganda against the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to improve food production saying they impact on the environment.
This comes as parliament is considering the National Biotechnology and biosafety bill 2012, whose objective includes providing for development and general release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Uganda.
The bill also provides for a regulatory framework to facilitate safe development and application of biotechnology.
However addressing Journalists over the weekend, the director general of FAO José Graziano da Silva opposed the use of GMOs as means of increasing food production to fight hunger.
“We don’t need them now, we don’t know what will happen to areas of production and the crops,” said Graziano Brazil’s extra ordinary minister of food security and fight against hunger.
Genetically modified foods include bananas (Matooke), beans, soya beans, bananas, maize and Gonja among other foods.
Graziano noted FAO was not against GMOs saying there was need for countries practicing GMO to ensure that such foods are safe for human consumption.
“It is risky for continents whose crops have GMOs; we want to ensure that proper security measures related to environment contamination are taken. Our position as FAO is not that we are against GMOs but we are saying we don’t need them now to eradicate hunger,” said he said.
He advised that instead of using GMOs, countries should apply the technology of the green revolution that was used 50 years ago.
“If we used this, we would be able to multiply the produce by 10 or more times,” Graziano said.
Graziano further noted that in case GMOs are used, NGOs’ products should be labeled so as to give the consumer the right to choose if they want or don’t want to eat.
However state minister for agriculture Nyiira Zerubabel Mijumbi who was in company of Graziano at FAO headquarters in Wandegeya Kampala, said government was considering a bill to regulate GMO adding that there should be quality assurance.