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January 20, 2018

105 – Biotech and Ugandan Food Security

Uganda is at an interesting precipice.  They have invested in biotech solutions to solve problems in their central food staples, namely the matooke.  The matooke is a starchy banana, and while a cornerstone of the diet, it is threatened by disease.  Most people are farmers, and tend to ‘gardens’ of 2-3 acres, these are subsistence farmers that use the gardens to feed their families.  Xanthamonas bacterial wilt can destroy entire stands of trees.  But scientists in Uganda have used breeding and genetic engineering to generate genetic lines that stop major diseases.  The sad part is that the improved plants are not allowed to be distributed due to the lack of a national biosafety law.  The second part of the podcast is an interview with Dr. Clet Masiga. He is a trained crop scientist, but also a farmer, and I spoke to him on his farm about the needs of Ugandan farmers, changes in policy, and broken down cars.

Most of all, you need to understand that providing the best technology to people in need is simply justice. Justice.

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The music is from the Musical Well on YouTube, and features traditional Ugandan music.

4 Comments on 105 – Biotech and Ugandan Food Security

  1. What an informative podcast! I plan to spread it far and wide among my anti-GMO friends. Thank you, and special thanks to your African colleagues.

  2. I consider that over-simplifying the biodiversity agreements and Cartagena protocol as ‘the evil’ or wrong is as dangerous as opposing biotechnology solutions as GM crops. Colombia is one of the countries that abides to CDB protocols and yet grow BT-cotton and BT-corn among others.
    In the same way that technology, international collaboration, and education have made possible that Ugandan research institutions develop this crops, the regulation, legislation and implementation should keep up.

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