GMOs to promote industrialisation


State minister for industry and technology James Mutende is hopeful that the introduction of the genetically modified foods (GMOs) would promote industrialisation through value addition.

Mutende, who was officiating at the closure of the 1st National Bio-Safety Conference at Makerere University Food Technology Centre, observed that the delayed passing of the Bio-safety and Bio technology Bills does not favour Uganda’s industrialisation.

“Industrialisation is what is moving the world forward. We are talking about improving productivity so that we can produce a lot for commercial purposes. If you have a piece of land and you are producing maize without using genetically modified seeds, you could get 1,000kg of maize, while the one who uses bio technology, which are high yielding, would end up getting 10,000kg out of the same land,” he said.

He added that the use of bio-technology will enhance job creation because farmers will be able to use high yielding resistant crops and engage in commercial production.

“Once you produce more and make it available for industries for value addition, that’s job creation and more revenue,” he said.

Mutende advised the scientists to come out and show everyone what is behind bio technology to allay people’s fears about the technology.

“There are some negative aspects because some scientists are misguided and are campaigning against the bio safety and biotech Bill yet we need it to ensure increased production and at the same time guarantee safety for all of us,” he said.

Eng. Robert Sekitooleko, the vice-chairperson of the parliamentary committee on science and technology, said it will be unfortunate for Ugandans to consume unlabelled imported genetically modified foods yet Ugandan farmers have been denied a chance to grow them.

Mukono district farmers’ coordinator Silver Nganda called for the empowerment of farmers coordinators with knowledge on bio technology to disseminate it to fellow farmers.