Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, urged scientists to prioritize improving indigenous seeds and animal breeds rather than pushing for the enactment of a genetically modified organisms (GMO) law in a recent visit to the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).
Tayebwa emphasized that Uganda’s strength lies in high-quality organic products and not in GMOs. He cautioned against jeopardizing the market for Ugandan products by rushing into GMO legislation. The Deputy Speaker expressed his commitment to opposing the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, commonly known as the GMO Bill, citing concerns about its potential impact on organic products.
During the visit on November 16, 2023, Tayebwa responded to NARO Governing Council Chairman Prof. William Olaho Mukani’s request to consider the GMO Bill. Tayebwa urged caution, emphasizing the need for a liability clause in the bill to hold scientists accountable for any problems caused by GMO products. He warned against being enticed into legal battles similar to those faced by scientists in Western countries due to the negative impacts of GMOs.
Tayebwa’s stance reflects a broader call to prioritize the improvement of indigenous agricultural practices over the hasty introduction of GMO legislation, emphasizing the competitive advantage of Uganda in producing high-quality organic goods.