WE NEED A LAW THAT REGULATES GMOS NOT THE ONE THAT PROMOTES GMOS IN UGANDA
PETITION AGAINST THE CURRENT NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOSAFETY BILL, 2012 TO THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA Introduction THE HUMBLE PETITION of the citizens over the unchecked introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms and the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, 2012 currently before the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda. We are concerned that: 1. The Bill does not provide for LABELING of GMOs especially for general release on the market. A clause mandating the labeling of GMOs is needed to ensure that the right to informed consent is not violated. 2. The Bill lacks a liability clause. It is totally silent on who should be held liable upon damage and risk arising out of the proposed technologies. 3. There is limited awareness creation and consultations on the Bill. Awareness creation among key stakeholders on the content and intention of the Bill and information on the likely impact of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on Uganda’s economy, human health, food security, environment and Uganda’s seed systems remain inadequate. 4. The Bill uses a good and all- encompassing title ‘National Biotechnology and Biosafety’ to market and regulate only one application of biotechnology, GMOs. 5. The Bill prioritizes promoting as opposed to regulating the GMOs. The Bill facilitates unfettered introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) on a massive scale without adequate safeguards for small farmers, their indigenous knowledge, nutrition and markets. 6. The Bill fully accords the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNSCT) powers as the competent authority with the mandate to approve the development, testing and use of GMOs in Uganda. UNCST however, has a conflict of interest here because they play a key role in the promotion of GMOs through, for instance, research. 7. The proposed offences and penalties for failure to comply with the law are neither punitive nor deterrent enough to potential offenders and offenders. 8. The provision for public participation and consultations during the development and general release of GMOs is quite inadequate. GMOs have the following universal critical concerns: Gradual destruction and contamination of traditional family farming, local seed systems and Ugandan rich, unique food system: The massive introduction of GMO’s will increase family farmer’s dependency on agro-industry. Farmers will be locked into buying costly protected (patented) seeds and expensive fertilizers. This will increase costs of production, limit many farmers from timely planting, expose them to the risk of high indebtedness resulting into significant reduction in food production, food self-sufficiency and as consequence the entire Uganda’s food sovereignty. It’s based on this that we seek for signatures to this petition calling upon our Members of Parliament not to rush to pass this bill in its current form.
This Non-State Actors' Petition is spearheaded by PELUM Uganda, Food Rights Alliance (FRA), Action Aid International Uganda (AAIU), Caritas Uganda, ESAFF, SEATINI, Caritas Kampala, CIDI, JEEP, VEDCO among others
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- Parliament of Uganda
The Parliament of the republic of Uganda should halt the decision of passing the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill into law until thorough consultations are made and the identified gaps in the Bill addressed.
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