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South Africa launches biosafety support agency

South Africa has launched a portal to support innovation in biotechnology. The Ministry of Science and Technology’s Biosafety South Africa seeks to: ensure access to all stakeholders to relevant regulatory and biosafety information and services; stimulate and facilitate strategic biosafety research and risk assessment studies on genetically modified organisms in South Africa; increase the country’s capacity for risk assessment through skills development and the leveraging of funds for the development and use of “safe, sustainable biotechnological products”; encourage growth in the national biotechnology industry by ensuring regulatory compliance of products. South Africa has grown GM cotton, maize and soybeans since 1998 ( Agrow No 562, pp 12-13). It is the major adopter of GMOs in Africa, planting some 2.1 million ha last year ( Agrow No 587, pp 24-25).

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