MPs shouldn’t pass Bill on GMOs

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Posted  Tuesday, December 17  2013 at  02:00

I urge our honorable Members of Parliament not to pass Uganda’s draft National Biotechnology and Bio safety Bill, 2012 in its current form. The intention of the Bill is to facilitate the introduction of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) without any safeguards and this will increase farmers’ dependency on the agro-industry, because they will be obliged to buy costly patented seeds and expensive fertilizers.

MP’s need to know that the Bill has not been given much public consultation and yet the public must debate thoroughly and agree on the introduction of GMOs .
It is aligned to the interests of transnational companies and not to the interests of Ugandan farmers and the wider public.

For instance, it does not provide any scientific, empirical evidence for the failure of Uganda’s traditional farming systems and that, patented commercial seeds will deprive farmers of the right to save, replant, share or propagate their own seeds.

The Bill assumes that there is no hope for any ago-ecological farming methods that can solve Uganda’s agricultural problems which is not true. Besides, it has clear indications of violating the precautionary principle, which forms the basis of the African Union’s revised African model law on biodiversity.

Further still, the Bill does not provide any assurance that Ugandans will be food secure through having physical, economical and social access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preference for an active and healthy life at all the times. It does not provide any data on who qualifies to conduct GMO trials and assumes that there is complete capacity in biotechnology and bio safety issues in Uganda.

I, therefore, urge MPs to consider passing a Bill which only restricts the introduction of GMOs in Uganda

Dornam Ahumuza, dornamz@yahoo.co.uk