Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Fifth Open Forum for Agriculture Biotechnology in Africa

Much as the global world is encouraging farmers to adopt the culture of planting modified plant species, scientists in Uganda are telling farmers to put more emphasis in producing traditional crops.

The scientists who were brainstorming with civil society leaders at the fifth Open Forum for Agriculture Biotechnology in Africa (Ofab) on the theme “The role of Biotechnology in Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Genetic resources” in Kampala on 12/08 argued the traditional plant species which are also the country’s staple food are rich in food value compared to the modified species.

The traditional crops include among others, sorghum, millet, cassava, beans, rice, matooke, groundnuts and simsim. On the other hand, the scientists encourage the production of the modified species since the government gave them a green light to carry out research on the modified crops, though both the government and farmers agree on preserving seedlings of the traditional plant in the gene banks.
The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) is a platform that brings together stakeholders in biotechnology and enables interactions between scientists, journalists, the civil society, industrialists, lawmakers and policy makers. It is a monthly lunch meeting that provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to know one another, share knowledge and experiences, make new contacts and explore new avenues of bringing the benefits of biotechnology to the African agricultural sector.
Environment Minister Ms Jessica Eriyo told the gathering that the cabinet was studying the draft bill on Biotechnology and Biosafety with an intention of passing it when all the loopholes in it filled in.
Scientists urge farmers to keep traditional crops Daily Monitor, Uganda - Aug 12, 2008