Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Strenghtening the capacities on biotechnology: Syngenta-FARA collaboration

Both FARA and the Syngenta Foundation recognised that harnessing the potential of biotechnology requires adequate understanding of the technology, its acceptance and appropriate application by African countries. It was recognised at the consultations that well-reasoned and carefully articulated awareness raising and advocacy was required to enable parties to engage in meaningful dialogue on the issues to allow the safe application of modern biotechnology. Also technology developers in modern biotechnology are reluctant to transfer proprietary technologies to Africa for the benefit of small holder resource poor farmers due to liability and redress problems that could arise due to the poor stewardship of these transferred technologies.

Oumar Niangado and Vivienne Anthony from Syngenta Foundation with prof. Walter Alhassan, Sidi Sanyang, Irene Frempong, Samira Hotobah During, Solomon Bangali and Odularu Gbadebo

There are many actors on the biotechnology/biosafety capacity building scene in Africa at both country and regional levels. Syngenta Foundation will therefore assist FARA to undertake a study to determine its role in bioskills and biosafety support in Africa. It will also support a background study to enable the development by FARA of an effective support to awareness creation initiatives and to institute stewardship training of technology recipients.

Dr. Oumar Niangado of Syngenta Fondation explains what the big challenges are for bio-technology from Africas perspective. It is essential that Africans themselves make an informed decision about the use of genetically modified crops especially taking into account the need to increase production. He answers the question whether the problem is mainly political or a problem of capacities. He finally expresses his satisfaction about the consultation with FARA.

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