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The International Food Policy Research Institute’s Program for Biosafety Systems cordially invites you to attend a

Policy Roundtable on:

 “Next Harvest II: Biotechnology Capacity in Africa, A Way Forward”

 Presented as follows:

Overview of IFPRI’s report to the African Development Report on GM Biotechnology in Africa Judy Chambers (IFPRI-PBS)
Introducing the Next Harvest II project – Patricia Zambrano (IFPRI)
Country presentations
o   Kenya Virginia Kimani, Agriculturist and Expert in Pesticides and Crop Protection
o   Nigeria Sylvia Uzochuwu, Professor of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology
o   South Africa Muffy Koch, Global Biosafety


o   Uganda Geofrey Arinaitwe, Plant Genetic Engineer
Policy issues and lessons learned Jose Falck-Zepeda (IFPRI-PBS)

Note: Lunch will be served at 11:45

 Friday, February 20, 2015

12:00 – 2:00 pm

4ABC Conference Room

(Go-to-meeting information below)


In 2003, IFPRI released the results of Next Harvest, a study that compiled and analyzed the first comprehensive database of publically-developed genetically modified crops under development in non-industrialized countries. Since then, several regional and national efforts have been made to update this database and expand Next Harvest findings. Nevertheless, to date there are no comprehensive data about the state of biotechnology in developing countries that take into account both traditional and modern biotechnologies under development by the public and private sector. IFPRI’s 2014 report “GM Technologies for Africa: A State of Affairs” identified the lack of standardized and uniformly collected biotech data as main constraint in assessing the overall state of Africa’s agricultural biotechnology capacity and in the ability to draw policy recommendations regarding countries’ strengths and needs. To begin to fill this gap, IFPRI designed and implemented Next Harvest II, a John Templeton funded initiative. In 2013, Next Harvest II gathered detailed information for four of the leading biotechnology countries in Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. The information collected has enabled the systematic evaluation of the status of African biotechnologies in these countries. The panel of participants will give an overview of the results for each country, highlighting differences and similarities. South Africa, clearly the leader in biotech adoption in the continent, is a country where agricultural biotechnology has been mainstreamed in a significant number of agricultural research institutes. Nigeria, on the other hand, has encountered difficulties to develop and implement biotechnologies. Kenya and Uganda maintain a solid portfolio of agricultural biotechnology research but still face institutional, human and financial resource limitations. Drawing from the rich data collected, the panel will discuss the capacity of the biotechnology innovation system to produce and deliver these technologies, the opportunities and challenges faced, and will give policy recommendations to address current limitations.


Presenters Bios:

Muffy Koch is a South African biologist and global biosafety consultant. She worked with the team to first genetically modify plants in South Africa and set up the first cereal transformation group in the country. She works with government task teams on the development of GM safety legislation with much of her time devoted to international biosafety initiatives and training in the developing world. Her education portfolio addresses policy makers, scientists, farmers, the public, educators and schools with information on biotechnology and biosafety. She has published papers, chapters and directories; and has presented widely at scientific conferences, workshops and public awareness seminars. Muffy led the South Africa study for Next Harvest II.

Virginia Kimani graduated with BSc. in Agriculture, MSc. in Plant Pathology and with a Ph.D in Crop Science. She is an agriculturist and an expert in pesticides and crop protection, and is currently the Director and Lead Consultant of the Pesticides and Agricultural Resource Centre (PARC), an organization that has carried out assignments for WINROCK, USAID, CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre), COLEACP (EU- ACP- Association of Fruit and Vegetable Importers and Exporters in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific) and IFPRI (International Food Policy and Research Institute). In the biotechnology sector, Virginia has carried out a number of assignments including two major studies: the impact of strict implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on trade and the status of biotechnology in Kenya. She has written several publications, notably a paper on the Implications of import regulations and information requirements under the Cartagena protocol on biosafety for GM commodities in Kenya, as well as a chapter in the recently published book, Biotechnology in Africa, alongside other authors. She has made several presentations in various COMESA biosafety forums focusing on the impact of legislation on trade. Virginia led the Kenya study for Next Harvest II.

Sylvia Uzochukwu is a Professor of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology from Nigeria. Originally a plant scientist (B.Sc.), she took her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology, specializing in Food Microbiology and Food Biotechnology. She has been involved in the last 15 years in organizing and teaching workshops for the training and re-training of scientists in Nigeria and other parts of Africa in the use of molecular techniques and emerging technologies in biotechnology research, and in the biosafety of genetically modified crops, especially Risk Assessment and Confined Field Trial Procedures. She was a member of the Nigerian National Biosafety Committee from inception in 2002 till 2010, and was involved in the development of the Nigerian Biosafety Bill currently about to be passed into law. She chaired the scientific sub-Committees that recommended the approval of 2 of the 4 Confined Field Trials for genetically modified (GM) crops currently going on in Nigeria. She trained as a Biosafety Specialist at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in 2010. Her current research efforts are in the areas of gene mining in traditional fermented food environments in Nigeria, and evaluation of the Nigeria food and feed system for genetically modified organisms, to drive home the urgent need for a biosafety law in Nigeria. She currently teaches in the Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria, where she is the Dean of the Faculty of Science. Sylvia led the Nigeria study for Next Harvest II.

Geofrey Ariaitwe is a Principal Research Officer at the National Plant Biotechnology Center, National Agricultural Research Laboratories in Kawanda, Uganda. Geofrey, who was initially trained as an agriculturalist (B.Sc. Agric.) specialized in plant and cell culture (M.Sc.) and finally Plant Genetic Engineering with a PhD in Bioscience Engineering. To understand the business perspective of Biotechnology, he recently completed an MBA. Geofrey started his research career at the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda, and established, for the first time, the Genetic Transformation System for the East African Highland Bananas previously regarded as recalcitrant. Following this success, more than five Confined Field Trials (CFT) of genetically Engineered Bananas were conducted at NARO, Kawanda. For the last 10 years, he has been leading the Banana Genetic Transformation Team at NARO and the Principal Scientist on banana biofortification initiative. He is also in charge of the Biofortified Banana CFT, believed to be the first banana CFT where transgenic lines were developed by an African laboratory. Currently, Geofrey is an active member of NARO’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), Uganda biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium (UBBC) and Open Forum for Biotechnology (OFAB). As a Founder of BioCrops Uganda Limited, a private tissue company, specializing in production and distribution of plantlets of orange fresh sweet potato varieties, he has a dream of significantly contributing to the reduction micronutrient deficiencies – a huge public health challenge in Uganda. He led the Ugandan Next Harvest II study,


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