THERE is growing unease among the scientific community across the country over the delayed review and repeal of a legal clause that holds everyone liable to punitive sanction should anything go wrong in the development and utilisation of agricultural biotechnology.
However, scientists and researchers interviewed believe that there is hope that even if a repeal of the strict liability clause in the 2004 NEM Act is delayed, the government would fund tissue culture in the 2014/2015 national budget to assist small-scale farmers fight vulnerabilities of their traditional crops in parts of the country.
During a visit by editors at the
Speaking at the event, a member of the
She explained tissue culture, as a biotechnological tool which uses fragments of tissue from an animal or plant in a culture to multiply, change size, form, or function.
At the meeting, scientists urged the government to transfer banana tissue culture technology to small-scale farmers if they want to overcome the challenges that deteriorated the agriculture industry throughout 2014 as well as boosting productivity and production.
"If biotech rules review is delayed, tissue culture technology is the only option that, if exploited efficiently in the agricultural sector, could save commercial farming and hence boost the country's forex earnings," said Dr. Emmarold Mneney, MARI head of cashew biotechnology.
The technology is used for mass production of planting materials, production of virusfree plants, plant-breeding purposes, conservation, and multiplication of crops and livestock and has been tested by researchers at
A Senior Research Officer with the
Speaking to the 'Daily News,' farmers in
A councillor at Nyakatuntu village in
"The disease is not going away and hunger is looming large in this area," she said. Mr
Another farmer, Mr Hamiru Ibrahim, said the banana disease had destroyed his five acres and his source of income because he depended solely on the crop. Mr Henerick Frederick had a similar experience as his 2.5 acres had also been destroyed.
In an interview, a
"There will be no more bananas in urban areas in the near future as a result of the banana bacterial wilt disease. "All crops, including cassava, seem to be affected by the disease which is affecting production," he said.
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