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December 8th, 2017 / The Independent, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The recent article in The Independent magazine (October 31 2017) titled “Tears and Cheers over New GMO Law” left me, as a farmer and a science journalist, disappointed. It carried negative and misleading sentiments about agricultural biotechnology.

Uganda’s decision to adapt Agricultural GMO technology and the passing of the Bill are aimed at overcoming Uganda’s current agricultural production difficulties and not promoting the interests of any foreign companies or countries as was insinuated by some of the people quoted in the article.

The article was also totally insensitive to the big problems we are facing; food insecurity, malnutrition, especially among children and pregnant women, and the loss of household income among farmers resulting from pests, crop diseases, and extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. We surely do not want to miss the very technology that has banished food insecurity and poverty in other countries such as India, Sudan, South Africa, Burkina Faso and many others across the world.

We cannot talk about exporting food overseas when our own food supplies as a nation are shrinking due to crop diseases that have no chemical cure. Before we export food we ought to have enough of it ourselves to feed our rapidly growing population and to combat malnutrition which causes Uganda an annual loss of $899 million according to ‘The Cost of Hunger Report 2013’ not to mention millions of working hours lost every year due to people falling sick or abandoning work to attend burials of people killed by malnutrition-related illnesses.

The article reminded me of an old Byzantine saying: “He who has food has many problems but he who has no food has only one problem.” Read more