The conference on agricultural biotechnology research in Africa culminated May 21 with a distinguished panel of experts, who drew upon the discussion of the first two days and shared their experiences with developing biotechnology legislation and regulations, with a view to the way forward for Africa. The panel included Ugandans Prof. Opuda-Asibo (National Biosafety Committee) and Charles Mugoya (ASARECA), Kenyans Norah Olembo (Agricultural Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum) and Harrison Macharia (National Council for Science and Technology), Nigerian Rufus Ebegba (Ministry of Environment), and IFPRI Division Director Mark Rosegrant. Immediately beforehand, researchers with regional expertise discussed collaboration and harmonization in Eastern, Western, and Southern Africa. The conference closed with parting words from Peter Ndemere, Executive Secretary of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, and Dr. Rosegrant. All presentations from the 2.5 day conference are available on the agenda page.
Prof. Robert Paarlberg of Wellesley College and author of “Starved for Science: How Biotechnology is Being Kept out of
Africa,” emphasized the relevance of drought-resistant and other potentially beneficial GM crops for small African farmers in his opening speech. For these crops to be adopted, African governments will need more flexible biosafety regulations and greater support from donors.
The international conference “Delivering Agricultural Biotechnology to African Farmers: Linking Economic Research to Decision Making” kicks off on May 19 with its inaugural session, including top Ugandan policymakers from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Agricultural Research Organization, and National Council for Science and Technology. IFPRI Division Director Mark Rosegrant and ISAAA-AfriCenter head Margaret Karembu are also slated to speak. Check back throughout the conference for presentations, media updates, photos, videos, and more.
The conference organizers kindly wish to extend an invitation to all participants for the Welcome Barbecue Dinner on Tuesday, May 19, at 18:30. The dinner will take place outside the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, on the shores of Lake Victoria. The meal will include salad, a variety of freshly-grilled meat, an assortment of vegetarian side dishes, and desserts and fruit to complete the meal. We look forward to seeing all of you there!
The Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS) will hold an evening side event as part of the overall conference on Wednesday, May 20, at 18:30. PBS members, including team leaders from Uganda and Kenya, will present information on PBS’s activities and accomplishments in partner countries. All conference participants are invited, and drinks and snacks will be provided. For more information, contact Catarina Cronquist at firstname.lastname@example.org.