Uganda Conducting Confined Field Trials For GM Crops

Uganda Conducting Confined Field Trials For GM Crops

Despite the lack of an Act of Laws to regulate the biotechnology and biosafety practices in the country, research organizations continue to carry out confined field trials for genetically modified crops.

Uganda is one of the African countries conducting confined field trials (CFTs) for (Genetically Modified) GM crops. The first CFT was planted in Nov 2007 to test banana for resistance to one of the major devastating diseases called Black Sigatoka.

Uganda has since conducted at least 18 separate CFTs for GM crops. The country has the most number of crops under CFTs in the region including cassava, potatoes, rice, maize, and banana.

In the last 20 years, the government has committed more than UGX 20 billion (USD 6M) towards infrastructure and human capacity development, for agricultural biotechnology research.

The Government of Uganda approved the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy in April 2008 which aims to build and strengthen national capacity in biotechnology through research, development, application and regulation.

The National Biosafety Committee (NBC) was established in 1996 using the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) Act, Cap 209. UNCST is the designated competent authority for biotechnology and biosafety in Uganda.

Since its establishment, the NBC has been appointed 5 times. The NBC has reviewed over 20 biosafety application in fields of agriculture and human health.

Uganda is among 170 parties that signed and ratified the internationally binding Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Establishment of a National Biosafety system is part of Uganda's international obligations to regulate Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

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