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December 4th, 2018 / The Observer, Uganda

Parliament has passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill, 2018, formerly known as the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill. The bill seeks to provide a regulatory framework for safe development and application of biotechnology and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Parliament earlier passed the same bill on October 4, 2017 but President Yoweri Museveni declined to assent to it and sent it back to parliament for review. The president specifically sought clarity on the title, patent rights of indigenous farmers and sanctions for scientists who mix GMOs with indigenous crops and animals.

He said parliament had a duty to protect crops and livestock with unique genetic configuration developed by Ugandans. The president argued that using genetic engineering, one may add an additional quality-such as drought resistance, quick maturing and disease resistance, which he said are ignored by the Bill that talks of giving the monopoly of patent rights to its adder and forgets about the communities that developed the original material. Read more