Malawi’s BioEROC “Biotechnology Update” Newsletter (October 2009: Volume 8, Issue 5)

The October edition of “Biotech update-Vol 8 Issue 5.1” features stories on: GM cotton field trials in India as well as Uganda; information on what confined field trials entail; stories on benefits from GM peas and GM soya; Bill Gates with hopes for the next ‘green revolution’; and much more!  Biotechnology Update is published by Malawi’s Biotechnology-Ecology Research and Outreach Consortium (BioEROC), a PBS partner organization.

Gates speech at 2009 World Food Prize

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke this week at the 2009 World Food Prize Symposium held in Des Moines, Iowa. Gates noted that environmentalists opposed to using genetically modified crops in Africa are hindering efforts to end hunger on the continent.  The New American reports here: “Gates Says Environmentalism Hurting Africaand read Bill Gates’ entire speech at the World Food Prize Symposium here.

Cotton confined field trial communications and awareness seminar in Uganda

Daily Monitor Oct 14 2009 Uganda CottonUganda has established confined field trials (CFTs) of transgenic cotton at two separate locations. The first cotton CFT communications and awareness seminar was held at Serere on October 7, 2009 and involved various stakeholders within Soroti district and the local community. The Chairperson of Soroti District Local government, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Michael Bwalatum, and journalists from local and national media houses were some of the participants at the seminar. A total of 34 participants were in attendance. This seminar is part of several efforts to support successful implementation of the cotton CFTs in Uganda and to ensure that stakeholders in neighbourhood of the trial appreciate the importance of the cotton CFT project. Participants toured the CFT fields at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI); they saw and touched the GM cotton plants. The trial manager explained the confined measures being enforced. Participants were able to see the tolerance of the herbicide tolerant or HT lines to the Roundup herbicide, and the effect of the herbicide on non-HT lines. Participants noted the vigour of the local check variety (BPA 2002) and advised that desirable traits in the GM varieties should be incorporated in the local varieties. The ginneries in Uganda are operating at about 20% capacity, ginners in attendance narrated, so a technology that can boost productivity is most appropriate as long as the cotton prices are also farmer friendly. The seminar was organized by PBS, the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (Scifode)  and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).   The event was widely captured by the print media, including one of Uganda’s major newspapers, the Daily Monitor.  On October 14, 2009, the Monitor featured an article entitled “Uganda’s GM cotton trials are promising” which also includes viewpoints by the Chairman of the Uganda Cotton Ginners and Exporters Association.  Also on October 14, 2009, New Vision Online posted the article, “GMO cotton growing thrives in Soroti.”  For more information, please contact PBS-Uganda country coordinator, Theresa Sengooba at 

Malawi’s BioEROC “Biotechnology Update” Newsletter (September 2009: Volume 8, Issue 4)

The September edition of “Biotech update-Vol 8 Issue 4.1” features stories on: harmonizing GM laws across Africa as drought-resistant maize goes to trial in RSA and virus-resistant cassava is developed; a new GM rice variety brings hope to war-ravaged communities in Uganda; Africans blame EU for hampering biotech developments; Danish scientists show GM crops can help climate and environment; and much more!  Biotechnology Update is published by Malawi’s Biotechnology-Ecology Research and Outreach Consortium (BioEROC), a PBS partner organization.

Register for UNEP-CBD Online Survey on Socio-Economic Considerations

In October 2009, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),  in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, will be conducting an online survey on the application of and experience in the use of socio-economic considerations in decision-making on LMOs. The survey is open to all parties, but those wishing to take part in the survey must pre-register first! To pre-register, please submit your name, country and e-mail address to  The survey is tentatively scheduled to begin on October 9, 2009 and run until November 9, 2009. It will be available in English, French and Spanish. An e-mail message will be sent to all pre-registered participants once the survey is launched.

CBD fifth coordination meeting on biosafety capacity building activities

The Fifth Coordination Meeting for Governments and Organizations Implementing or Funding Biosafety Capacity-building Activities, organized by the CBD Secretariat and attended by PBS Manager John Komen on behalf of IFPRI/PBS, was held in San José, Costa Rica from March 9-11, 2009.  Find the meeting summary here:

New peer-reviewed journal to focus on GM crops

GM Crops”, the first international peer-reviewed journal to focus exclusively on genetically modified crops, will launch in January 2010


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