KAMPALA, The Ugandan Parliament has again deferred debate on the controversial National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012, pending further consultations.

The Bill which was listed at seventh on Parliament's order paper Wednesday was not considered by the House after Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who was chairing the session Tuesday, told Members of Parliament that it would be put off the order paper for further consultations.

This Bill should not be put on the order paper tomorrow [Wednesday]. I have been informed that there is need for more consultations, Oulanyah told the House amidst applause from MPs.

The piece of legislation which has been before Parliament for six years now is meant to provide a regulatory framework to ensure safety in research and development of modern biotechnology in Uganda. It is also aimed at providing for development and general release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country.

Biotechnology is one of the methods which scientists have utilized to improve crops to tolerate or resist some diseases like Banana Bacterial Wilt and Cassava Brown Streak Disease. Over the years, scientists have endeavored to provide appropriate varieties to help farmers cope with the diseases, which are causing great losses in terms of reduced or no yields and income.


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