and Gerald Tenywa
There is no law in the country regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Draft regulations under which GMOs will be brought and used in the country are to be presented to cabinet and parliament for approval within the next six months, Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa, the Minister of Agriculture, has said.
â€œAs of now, we do not have bio-safety regulations. I have received a draft bill from the National Council for Science and Technology and it will have to go through cabinet. I am going to push for it to go through to parliament,â€ Kisamba said.
Speaking at a consultative meeting on GMOs on Tuesday, Kisamba said Uganda would develop agriculture using biotechnology, including GMOs but would only do so with relevant regulatory mechanisms in place.
He said so far there had been no importation of GMOs in the country.
â€œThere is no terminator seed that the American company, MONSANTO has brought into the country. What they brought in was hybrid maize and they followed the correct procedures. However, we shall use biotechnology to increase crop and animal yields as well as reduce pests and disease incidence,â€ Kisamba said.
The terminator seed technology has caused worldwide uproar with fears that if introduced it would dominate indeginous seed varieties, making farmers dependent on supplies from large seed companies. There are also fears of health hazards.
Professor Joseph Mukiibi, director general of NARO, said genetic engineering had been in place for a long time and affected both crops and animals.
However, he said like all sciences, GMOs had advantages and disadvantages. He said the law would help protect varieties and people from misuse of GMOs.
He said genetic engineering was already widely used to develop life saving vaccines and drugs.
Bio-Safety Law To Be Tabled Soon