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Kenya and Nigeria progress as Uganda falters

Published Sep 1, 2021

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By John Agaba Though several African countries, including Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia, are making tremendous strides in their quest to develop and commercialize genetically modified crops, it’s not the same story in Uganda. Despite very promising initial successes, Ugandan scientists in the East African country have struggled to progress their GM crop research beyond confined field trials (CFTs) due to various reasons that are out their control.

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For instance, scientists developing an improved GM maize variety that is drought-tolerant and insect-resistant at Uganda’s National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) had to halt their research and destroy their results because the country still lacks a biosafety law to guide commercialization of GM crops. “We have completed confined field trials for Bt maize, but we cannot apply for environmental release because we don’t have a law to guide usage of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in Uganda,” said Dr. Godfrey Asea, principal investigator for the research and director of NaCRRI. The scientists also had to destroy the seed varieties they produced. They could not keep them for longer than a year after the CFTs were completed because NaCRRI does not have long-term storage facilities for GMOs, including fridges and cold rooms. The National Council for Science and Technology also required them to destroy the seeds after research was completed. “It’s a real shame [the ...
Source: Agropages
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