In Summary
  • Brazil has been growing biotech soybean, corn, and cotton for 20 years now. The study report says, “The profit obtained per hectare from biotech soybeans was up to 26 per cent higher than the conventional variety. For corn, the performance differential reached 64 per cent in summer harvest and 152 per cent in the winter harvest. In the case of cotton biotech seeds have a margin of 12 per cent higher than non-biotech ones.”

On September 19, inside Serena hotel in Kampala, I listened keenly to the speech of the chairman, Uganda Biotechnology and Bio-safety Consortium (UBBC), Erostus Nsubuga, who is also the proprietor of Agro-Genetic Technologies (AGT) located near Buloba along Kampala-Mityana Road.

UBBC was holding its first Annual Biotechnology Awards Ceremony at which Daily Monitor journalist Lominda Afedraru was one of the few individuals honoured for contributing immensely to the country’s socio-economic development through biotechnology.

She was praised for writing consistently and accurately about topics related to agricultural science, climate change, environment, health and a whole range of other issues.
Nsubuga said, “As technology advances, scientists are discovering more and more technologies to provide solutions to many challenges in agriculture, medicine and construction industry, and stakeholders need to be kept informed of these developments in order for them to understand and accept them.”

His statement is important because Uganda’s economy heavily leans on agriculture.
Among the challenges that farmers face are: climate change, crop diseases, soil depletion, and low capacity for value addition among others.

Since its conception in 2011 UBBC has been struggling to promote safe use of biotechnology in national development and the passage of the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Act, which is yet to be assented to by His Excellence the President.
Yet we have an entire ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology along other institutions. We have students studying Biotechnology in universities with a view to applying their skills in agriculture, medicine, and other branches of science.

One is reminded of a recent study made in Brazil by Agro-consult with support from the Council for Information on Biotechnology (CIB).
Brazil has been growing biotech soybean, corn, and cotton for 20 years now. The study report says, “The profit obtained per hectare from biotech soybeans was up to 26 per cent higher than the conventional variety. For corn, the performance differential reached 64 per cent in summer harvest and 152 per cent in the winter harvest. In the case of cotton biotech seeds have a margin of 12 per cent higher than non-biotech ones.”