Last week, a joint workshop “Governance of Science, Technologies and Innovation including Genetics for Farming, Biotechnologies, Nanotechnologies and Indigenous Knowledge” with the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), National Academies Sciences in Africa (NASAC), African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS), Malaysian Commonweatlh Study Centre, Cambridge, and B4FA was held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Several speakers gave presentations on the status of biotechnology research and innovation in their countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya:
- Dr Roshan Abdallah, Tanzania Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI), Arusha, Tanzania. Preparedness of Tanzania to utilize GM technology
- Professor Walter Alhassan. Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Ghana. Current Situation on GM research and innovation in Ghana
- Dr. Andrew Kiggundu, National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Current Situation on GM Research in Uganda
- Dr. Douglas W. Miano Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Biotechnology Centre, Kenya. Virus Resistant Cassava (VIRCA) project and issues arising
- Prof. M. I. Uguru. Dept. of Crop Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria: Current Situation on GM research and innovation in Ghana and the region (opportunities and challenges)
The results of this workshop will be incorporated into a new report, “Planting the Future: opportunities and challenges for sustainable crop development” which is being prepared by EASAC for European policymakers. It will be completed in mid-2013. This project was introduced during the workshop by Prof. Volker ter Meulen, Chairman of EASAC-NASAC Working Group Planting the Future.
- The importance of appropriate, efficient and science-based regulatory systems for the utilisation of agricultural biotechnology;
- Policymakers should engage with the African academies when making decisions on the regulation of agricultural biotechnology;
- Public participation and transparency are crucial for instilling confidence among stakeholders;
- Policies and laws can only be successful and effective when there is real political will and conviction.
This publication was compiled by Prof. John Mugabe, funded by the Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) and produced in collaboration with the Mauritius Academy of Science and Technology (MAST). ASSAf was Inaugurated in 1996 with former President Nelson Mandela as the patron of the launch and became a National Academy of Science through ASSAf Act 67 of 2001.
This workshop was held as part of the larger ATPS conference, “Emerging paradigms, technologies and innovations for sustainable development: global imperatives and African realities”. Its blog can be found here and ATPS can be contacted via Facebook and Twitter.