Thursday 15 February 2018


There is usually a point of no return but not in relation to activism especially where you have people's interests at heart. For a long time there has been a desire by the President to improve agriculture which he believes is the back bone of Uganda's economy, of course we have heard this but does it add up to a level that we can be proud of? Of course not, we export products that are unfinished, of low standard, with poor technology to keep them fresh until they reach the best market and worst of all policing has its own many weaknesses.
Basically with all these loop holes you can not convince the majority to believe that agriculture contributes to our economy the percentage it really should be contributing.
I find it difficult figuring out why the president that wanted the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill passed would return it to parliament after the legislators had finally put a tick on it.
 There are a whole lot of departments that are keeping quiet with the solutions, for a science cause, let me speak out for the scientists, the biotechnologists.
As you may have read my previous articles, there are advantages of GMOs that I listed and today I want us to focus on how best they can boost how much the farmer and country can earn.
There was a complain about GMO propagules (what is planted to grow into a new plant), that when you plant the seeds for example, they will grow but will not germinate if the harvested seeds are planted. This is called gene termination technology and it is a kind of copyright. It is so unfortunate that Ugandans would have a problem with this, it's a culture we have developed of wanting to have things free over and over again, let us get into the world of bills where you make money with money. Gene termination technology prevents the contamination of non GMO crops, this is an answer to the president's worry about traditional species possibly going extinct, however, even before you think about their extinction, we have been conserving these plants in research labs by germplasm conservation. Like I usually say, the scientist is more scared than you are but the main difference is that we provide the solutions that you end up understanding as problems.
The GMO has a higher harvest output and less input. Look at this scenario, you buy these seeds, plant them and do not spray, you experience a faster growth and you are least affected by climate change, and when you harvest, it is a jackpot of returns. Why on earth with all that saving and big returns on investment would a farmer fail to buy seeds for the next planting season?  Is it the business mind of calculating profits lacking?
There is also the advantage of increasing the shelf life of perishables so that the products reach the market without having post harvest losses due to ripening, rotting or wilting depending on the produce in question.
The remaining task is left to the legislators to make policies that will benefit the farmers, they are tired of farming with no returns.
The science is there, everything is set and only awaiting you to change our negativity or consider research in Uganda doomed. One thing people should know is that legislators could be asking the wrong people or the wrong legislators asking the right people, the former is coupled with a knowledge gap that would yield less or no impact their final decision.
I will refer you to watch the documentary film Food Evolution on Amazon Video, Hulu, iTunes, just click on those links.  The documentary shows you how biotechnology has saved farmers even after its initial heavy criticism.
Have a great time as you embrace biotechnology for sustainability.

Bsc In Biotechnology

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