TOP
  • Home
  • News
  • Agriculture scientists want review on GMO law

Agriculture scientists want review on GMO law

By Jeff Andrew Lule

Added 1st May 2018 12:32 PM

Last year, Parliament adopted the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012 into law on 4th October 2017. It was submitted to President Yoweri Museveni to sign, but he (President) declined to sign it.

Someofthemanurenamasopousesinhergarden 703x422

Last year, Parliament adopted the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012 into law on 4th October 2017. It was submitted to President Yoweri Museveni to sign, but he (President) declined to sign it.

Agricultural Scientists have called for a review of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation in “The national biosafety act 2017”.

They say the recommendations are too restrictive, arguing that it might lead into a bad law that is likely to stifle efforts of Ugandan scientists from advancing in their work of research for the benefit of Ugandans and the world.

Addressing journalists in Kampala, the director Topical Institute of Development Innovations, Clet Masiga said the recommendations need to be reviewed if Uganda is to adopt use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

He said this is wrong because the use of GMOs is very crucial especially in the present times of climate change and  increasing populations, adding that any delay in adopting agricultural innovations will lead to more hunger leading to more malnourished children and death among Ugandans.

Last year, Parliament adopted the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012 into law on 4th October 2017.  It was submitted to President Yoweri Museveni to sign, but he (President) declined to sign it.

He sent it back to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga seeking clarification on a number of issues and review of some clauses. It was referred to the Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation for consideration which came up with a report and tabled it in Parliament early this month.

Among the recommendation include; a minimum isolation of distance of 200 metres that must separate genetically modified Maize from that which is not a GMO even when the purpose is not for seed production, which Masiga says undermines the rights of smallholder farmers who own small plots of from growing GM crops.

They also recommended that farmers should be responsible for policing pollen grain from cross pollinating the neighbouring field will see many vulnerable farmers in jail for a crime of not stopping wind or bees from transferring pollen to a non GMO field.

 “If these recommendations are adopted; no one will ever do genetic engineering in this country. We shall only be consumers of genetically engineered materials from elsewhere whose implications are not known. That’s why we need a law in place to open up,” Masiga noted.

He explains that with the suggested penalties; it means that anyone who is involved in Biotechnology is strictly liable and can face life imprisonment if anything goes wrong.

He said the restriction on distance where the GMOs should be grown, automatically leaves out those with small plots of land from using GMOs.

Masiga said strict liability clauses push away donors and investors.

Sylvia Namasopo a banana farmer, in Rusanja village, Kyampisi subcounty, Mukono district, said many of their bananas are affected by banana wilt and lamatodes.

“Much as we have tried to use manure and avoid weeds to get good yields, its all in vain. We make a lot loses. If there are improved varieties which are resistant to diseases, then we can take that,” she noted.

“We only appeal to policy makers to think about us and Ugandans because things are becoming tougher every day,” she added.

According to the ‘Uganda Biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium' (UBBC), Uganda is likely to lose majority of its indigenous crops if nothing is done in 10 years.

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles