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GM trials in Uganda show improved borer control

Field trials of genetically modified insect-resistant Bt maize are proving successful in controlling target pests, newspaper the East African reports. It cites National Crop Resources Research Institute (Namulonge) lead researcher Dr Michael Otim as saying that eight lines of GM maize planted in confined field trials in western Uganda have proved resistant to stem borers (Chilo partellus and Busseola fusca). The trials are part of a three-year public-private research partnership project, Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA), which started in 2008. Dr Otim predicts commercialisation of the lines by 2017 if the positive results persist, subject to the enactment of the biotechnology law. Uganda has also trialled drought-tolerant maize after it adopted biosafety legislation in 2008 (Agrow No 541, p 22).  The National Biosafety Bill is before Parliament and requires approval before commercialisation of GM crops can begin.

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