Uganda’s Parliament voted the long-awaited National Biosafety Act of 2017 into law, ending years of governmental debate over whether that nation’s farmers will be able to access GMOs and other tools of genetic engineering.
The National Biosafety Act 2017 will now be forwarded to President Yoweri Museveni. The President, who has on several occasions endorsed biotechnology and expressed frustration over the delay of the bill’s passage, is expected to sign the law, which will become operational immediately.
Following the vote, the mood among science allies in Uganda could be described as “celebratory.” Patricia Nanteza who works with the national banana program at Kawanda, was ecstatic as she reflected on the way forward.
“It’s exciting, though it feels almost unreal after all the setbacks,” Nanteza said. “But finally, banana farmers will be able to access varieties of banana resistant to bacterial wilt, and the people, especially children, can finally eat bananas and other foods rich in Vitamin A.”
Those for its passage cited the need to adopt science and technology, as no country has prospered without it. They also said the bill allows the country to regulate GMOs so that Ugandans can be assured of their safety, and that rejecting the bill in totality would be a disservice to country.
Bron: Genetic Literacy Project