What was the rationale for the formulation of the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Policy?
Uganda actively participated in the negotiations and subsequently ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety which comes from the Convention on Biological Diversity. One of the key obligations is to put in place policy, legal and institutional framework for controlling risks associated with development and use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
The existing legal regime in Uganda was inadequate to handle matters regarding modern bio-technology and GMOs. The rationale is a means of contributing to increasing food production to feed the increasing population.
Do we have any Biotechnology activities in Uganda that the policy is to regulate/
Biotechnology is going on at a fast rate: In the medical field; recombinant DNA HIV vaccine is already in clinical trials. Imported Insulin used by diabetic patients is a product of biotechnology.
In Agriculture, genetic modification of bananas to resist a number of diseases including the banana bacterial wilt is being conducted at the National Agricultural
Bio-technology Centre at Kawanda. Other crops being researched on using bio-technology include beans, cassava, maize and cotton.
In the Environment sector, the Bio-technology Laboratory at the Institute of Environment is conducting a number of studies on wildlife.
What is the goal of the Biotechnology and Bio-safety Policy?
To contribute to the national goals of poverty eradication, improved healthcare, food security, industrialization and protection of the environment through safe application of modern Bio-technology.
What does the approved policy provide for now?
It provides for the following:
To build and strengthen national capacity in bio-technology through Government funding of research and development in modern bio-technology;
To promote utilization of modern bio-technology products and processes as tools for national development;
To provide regulatory and institutional framework for safe sustainable bio-technology development and applications and ensure safety and ethical standards are maintained during the development and application of modern biotechnology.