Biotechnology scientists, students, and instructors from various universities received advice to use their expertise for the betterment of people’s lives and economic improvement. The guidance was offered during the University Dialogue on Harnessing Biotechnology to Build a Vibrant Bio-Economy, which took place at Makerere University this week.
Speakers at the event expressed concerns about the absence of solutions to common issues that could be addressed through biotechnology, despite the presence of numerous biotechnologists in the country. Professor Patrick Okori, the Executive Secretary of REFORUM, highlighted the impact of trends like urbanization on people’s eating habits. He emphasized the need for agricultural researchers to develop products catering to these changing preferences.
“We find ourselves importing food items such as wheat, rice, and cooking oil when we shouldn’t have to. This suggests that our food system is evolving, with many city residents favoring foods like chips and Rolex over traditional options,” he noted.
Professor Okori urged educators to train their students to become technology producers and wealth creators rather than mere technology users.
Professor Arthur Tugume, the Dean of the School of Biosciences at Makerere University, pointed out that well-prepared bioscientists have numerous opportunities. They can focus on developing high-quality seeds that will benefit farmers for a lifetime.