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December 19th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:

Around the world, scientists using biotechnology advances to breed new crops are bound by an array of guidelines and regulations enacted by the nations in which they operate. Many of these countries have built these legal frameworks based, at least partly, on guidance from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Forty African nations are members of the convention, which emphasizes the need to protect human health and environment from the possible adverse effects. Yet only a few of these countries have enacted internal laws and regulations allowing their scientists to engage in modern plant breeding using genetic engineering with the goal of producing GMO crops.

At a recent conference in Kampala, Sunday Igu Rocks Akile presented a paper looking at the regulatory status of biotechnology applications in Africa. Akile is the programme officer for the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE).

Akile argues that challenges are presented by the wide range of regulatory operations throughout the region. This, despite that fact that many of the pests and diseases ravaging agriculture are common across borders. And with porous international boundaries, there is no way farmers will be stopped from exchanging farm items, including seeds. Read more