• No_Ads
Opinion
Opponents of the GMO bill have a big point to listen toPublish Date: Dec 28, 2013
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Robert Tumwesigye Baganda

I am writing to respond to wild allegation by Prof Morris Ogenga Latigo that appeared in the New Vision of December 18, 2013. It is on record that the Parliament’s committee on science and technology has had many guided trips to different countries such as Kenya, South Africa and many others. If you check on the Parliamentary record, most of the trips have not been funded by Parliament.

The hullabaloo about the Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill before Parliament intends to deprive Ugandans of their food sovereignty and put it on the mercy of multinationals. We are concerned because the current Bill intension is to introduce GMOs in Uganda on large scale. The Bill ignores the traditional methods of genetics and intends to contaminate our crops with foreign genes which have disastrous effects on health and environment.

Proponents of GMOs contend that the opponents of GMOs are alarmists who do not have scientific evidence to back their claims. They have forgotten the precautionary principle or precautionary approach which states that, if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. Therefore, lack of scientific evidence should not deter Uganda from making a law that will protect her from eminent dangers of GMOs.

First of all, it is not true that the opponents of GMOs do not have scientific facts.  Instead the proponents of the GMOs in Uganda have not showed because why Uganda desperately needs GMOs.

The proponents of GMOs have not shown Ugandans scientific, economic, environmental and social reasons why Uganda needs GMOs urgently as they are purporting. Instead what is clear is that Uganda will lose her traditional genetic heritage and her seed industry will be controlled by multinational companies and our Ugandan small scale farmers will lose their seed sovereignty.

Professor Ogenga Latigo has forgotten that most of the seeds in the market are hybrids which are not GMOs but are by-products of genetic engineering, which is why some of the seeds cannot germinate. Consequently, we are calling for an inclusive law that regulates the whole notion of genetic engineering. If the government wants to promote GMOs, let them bring to Parliament a GMO Bill instead of confusing Ugandans with a high sounding title of biosafety and biotechnology whose sole aim is to promote GMOs.

The professor contends that the international companies do not have interest in our traditional food crops like millet, sorghum, and ground nuts and bananas because they are self-pollinating. This argument is misleading, because after this Bill, there’s is another Bill in offing titled Seed and Variety and Plant Protection Bill which basically protects the seeds companies.

More research should be done as experiments are confined to the fields until Uganda gets concrete reasons why we need GMOs. The Bill in Parliaments should be withdrawn and a law that protects Ugandans from GMOs is redrafted.

The writer is the executive director of the Pro-biodiversity Conservationists in Uganda (PROBICOU)

tumwesigyeus@yahoo.com

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Uganda needs laws on data protection
Literary data refers to facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. However, in light of Computer Misuse Act 2011, Data entails electronic representations of information in any form....
National ID success hinged much on people as on technology
Just a few days into the roll out of the massive National ID registration exercise, the Government agencies responsible are already grappling with poor turn up by the masses, largely due to the long queues at the registration centres in urban centres where it takes an average of 45 minutes to regis...
Global warming’s upside-down narrative
When politicians around the world tell the story of global warming, they cast it as humanity’s greatest challenge. But they also promise that it is a challenge that they can meet at low cost, while improving the world in countless other ways. We now know that is nonsense....
The high-tech, high-touch economy
In many countries, the majority of that wealth – and the lion’s share of the increase – is accounted for by housing and commercial real estate, and most of that wealth resides not in the value of the buildings, but in the value of the urban land on which it sits....
Fair trade partnership will end foreign aid
THE EU has traditionally been Africa's biggest trading partner and is by far its largest donor. However, its influence is increasingly being challenged by China, now a major investor and donor in Africa...
Sensitize people on the importance of national ID cards
IDs also enable us to avoid the wastage of taxpayers’ money in that instead of waiting for 2016 and start the process of registration for elections, the voters would just easily present their Identity cards...
WIll the national ID registration process be completed in the scheduled 4 months timeframe?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter