WHILE government reviews the bio-safety regulatory framework, it is public institutions that are expected to handle the entire process from research to distribution of genetically engineered seeds, Dr
Dr Ndunguru, a molecular plant virologist and principal investigator of the
He made these statements while speaking during the tour of British activist,
Researchers are currently calling for a review of the strict liability clause in bio-safety regulatory framework to be removed to increase the output of crops.
The contestable clause in the bio-safety regulatory framework states that even if GMOs are to be introduced, the companies supplying them should be accountable in case anything goes wrong.
According to Dr Ndunguru, several advancements have been made recently in
"In our country, it fits well in increasing agricultural productivity and ensuring food security as stipulated in the Kilimo Kwanza drive and MKUKUTA," he said. Currently, there is a divided opinion in the cotton industry on whether the strict liability clause in bio-safety regulatory framework should be removed to increase output.
Speaking to reporters,
"The world is making remarkable strides that will see Africa remain hungry and an importer of food despite the abundant availability of fertile land," he said.
According to Mr
He said farmers in
He cautioned that organic crops should not drive out GMOs and equally, GMOs should not drive out organic crops.
"We don't need to be pro-organic or pro-GMOs; it is just a matter of trying new developed crops to improve both quality and quantity," he said.
He said in
Dr Ndunguru added that Africa needs to embrace diversity of technology that will help to ensure food security and help to reduce abject poverty.
"The only way we can solve the ailing African crops like cassava, bananas and cotton is through the use of biotechnology," said Dr Ndunguru.
"For example, cassava mosaic disease was discovered in
GM crops sub-sector's approval is also hindered by some legislations, such as the Biosafety Regulations of 2009. Dr Aloys Kullaya from
The regulations employ the "Precautionary Principle", which means that the lack of scientific evidence is not a basis for refusing or restricting GMOs or biotech products.
The regulations also employ the "Strict Liability" principle, which broadly states that any "person who imports, arranges transit, makes use of, releases or places on the market a GMO or product of a GMO, shall be strictly liable for any harm caused by such a GMO or product of a GMO", which should be "fully compensated".
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