National Biosafety Committee (NBC) Inspects NARO's Confined Field Trials of Transgenic Bananas with Enhanced Levels of Pro-Vitamin A

On 01 September 2021, the National Biosafety Committee (NBC) conducted an inspection tour at the multilocation Confined Field Trials of transgenic bananas with enhanced levels of Pro-Vitamin A located at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) at Kawanda.

This visit followed an earlier inspection conducted at NARO’s National Banana Research Program in September 2020 at the trial planting of these transgenic bananas, to observe if the Bio-Safety measures were being followed.

The inspectors were particular on the biosafety approach being followed in planting these GMO plants and if the staff carrying out the activity are equipped and trained to carry out the exercise.

The inspection tour was conducted by the Trial Manager, Dr Stephen Buah and Kawanda Site Technician. The NBC team included: Prof Ssetumba Mukasa, Prof. Clovice Kankya, Mr. Musa Kwehangana (NBC Sectreaty), and Mr Isaac Wamatsembe (MAAIF Inspector).

The inspectors look at the incineration pits where all the PVA Banana wastes are handled.

The Trial Manager briefed the NBC team on the experimental setup of the trials and highlighted progress made to-date. He stated that since planting that started with M9 in October 2019, no incident has been registered.

“100% of the plant crop have been harvested and data recorded as planned, about 70% of ratoon 1 crop have been harvested with relevant data collected and less than 20% of ratoon 2 crop have been harvested so far,” Dr. Buah informed the inspectors.

The trial manager also reported that the variety release committee have started data collection at all the sites including Kawanda and that the entire CFT facility is intact for containment as required.

A tour of the entire site started from the M9 trial block and ended with Nakitembe. Some of the areas inspected during the inspection were the incineration pits of which the inspectors were generally impressed by the handling of wastes in the incineration pits and advised the project administration to maintain the standard.

All aspects of the CFT were found intact and satisfactory.

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