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Report from Uganda

Uganda is in the final stages of debating biosafety legislation that will make it possible for the country to begin using genetically modified (GM) agricultural plants, such as bacterial wilt-resistant bananas, brown streak virus-resistant cassavas and insect-resistant maize.  As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Uganda must have a biosafety law in place before releasing GM plants to farmers. In response to an invitation from The U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Dr. Nina Fedoroff, Senior Science Advisor at OFW Law,  participated in a series of outreach events on biotechnology organized by the U.S. Embassy and USAID in Kampala, Uganda.  The events included a Women Leaders’ Roundtable on Biotechnology, with opening remarks by U. S. Ambassador Deborah Malac, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, and Rt. Honorable Speaker of Parliament Dr. Barbara Zawedde, Senior Knowledge Management Specialist of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). Fedoroff gave the keynote speech titled “Biotechnology and Food Security” in the workshop.  She gave a public lecture the following day attended by a wide range of individuals, from farmers to members of parliament.  Drs. Fedoroff and Zawedde did a call-in talk show on biotechnology, aired live on the NTS TV network.  Fedoroff also met with Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, the science policy leadership team and several parliamentarians.

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