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Busia residents reject GMO crops

By Egessa Hajusu

Added 24th December 2016 09:43 AM

The stakeholders including religious leaders, technocrats, farmers and traders expressed their concern about the safety of genetically modified crops.

Busia residents reject GMO crops

Philip Chemonges, the Coordinator biotechnology UNCST. Photo by Egessa Hajusu

The stakeholders including religious leaders, technocrats, farmers and traders expressed their concern about the safety of genetically modified crops.

Busia district residents have asked the Uganda national council of science and technology (UNCST) to delay the enactment of the national biotechnology and safety bill 2012.

The stakeholders including religious leaders, technocrats, farmers and traders expressed their concern about the safety of genetically modified crops.

Their reservations were premised on grounds that UNCST was hiding something by sugar coating GMO crops and not clearly telling the public the side effects.

This was during consultative meeting organized in Busia town by UNCST to create awareness on agricultural biotechnology in order to help the public decide whether to embrace GMO crops and push for the enactment of the bill which is still pending in parliament.

Some of the participants appreciated the idea as a short term measure of saving people from dying of hunger cause by food shortage which has hit the country but argued that Uganda had not reached a situation of wanting to adopt agricultural biotechnology.

The area resident district commission Hussein Kato Matanda who said he was speaking in individual capacity not as the RDC said the country still has the cooperative advantage to produce organic crops.

Matanda advised the scientist to instead focus on coming up with ways of ensuring that they improve the soil which has fertility to produce more organic food than going GMO.

Sheik Ali Masikini said time was not right to embrace genetically modified crops saying those promoting GMO want to enslave the country in the western world.

Fred Wakapisi the district production officer said despite viruses, pests and diseases attacking indigenous crop most farmers had insisted on planting them and rejected improved varieties because of natural food taste.

However Anthony Egessa, ACAO Busia said scientific research was always necessitated by social problems noting that the era of GMO crops has delayed because some crops have died.

"We would rather have crops which are tasteless which can save people from dying of starvation," Egessa said. He appealed that the scientist be supported to develop new varieties because in ten years we might have not crops.
 
Other concerns raised by participants included the safety of poultry and animal products, GMO not having natural taste of crops they are modified into, ensuring that modified crops don't die out completely while other called for developing of varieties that can be grown on small space in urban communities.

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