Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye the Minster for Science, Technology and Innovation opening remarks at the NABIO 2018 Conference. "On behalf of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) and my own behalf, I warmly welcome you all to the Third National Agricultural Biosciences Conference 2018 (NABIO2018).
NABIO conferences have provided avenues of linking bioscientific research findings and knowledge to society through the wider spectrum of participants ranging from scientists, policy makers, farmers, local leaders, the media, and students among others and this has helped Government a great deal in the process of policy formulation.
Allow me in a special way to thank Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) led by Mr. Arthur Makara for spearheading these Conferences and for convening NABIO2018.
I would like to also appreciate the Uganda Industrial Research Institute, led by Prof. Charles Kwesiga for hosting NABIO2018. I am informed that UIRI has been an active player in NABIO Conferences since their inception. I thank you Prof. for your leadership of science and innovation in Uganda. I thank all partners who have joined hands with the lead organizers to convene this conference keep the culture of NABIO Conferences alive (from NABIO2013, to NABIO2015 and now NABIO2018). These include the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), African Union-NEPAD African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), the Uganda National Farmers’ Federation (UNFFE), and Tropical Institute for Development Innovations (TRIDI), Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Uganda Biosciences Information Centre, and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) among others. I pledge my Ministry’s support to this initiative to make it grow bigger and better because it is through such conferences, that we can assess our progress as a Country regarding development anchored on a bio economy. I have been further informed that this Conference also has foreign delegates, from Kenya and Ethiopia who have come all the way to share their experiences and learn from us, you are welcome to Uganda, and please feel at home.
The theme of this Year’s Conference is “Harnessing Biosciences for Economic Transformation”. This is a very befitting theme as Uganda needs to develop holistically the bio economy model that has been demonstrated to leap-frog least developed countries and countries in transition which my Ministry is committed to champion. I have visited a number of Countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Malaysia. The Bio economy model is what has taken them where they are today. Uganda therefore needs to take matters of biosciences, biotechnology and bio economy seriously. MoSTI is committed to this important cause. Due to other Government work at Cabinet, I missed out on yesterday’s sessions where issues relating to Harnessing biosciences for: food, security and development, for climate change mitigation and for value-addition and industrialization were very critical aspects of building a bio economy were discussed.
I appreciate the members of the National Conference Organizing Committee for designing such a rich program. As I have said before, my Ministry is ready to partner with you on building this into a much broader, and much richer conference that will take Uganda forward as far as biosciences and bio economy discourse is concerned.
My Ministry has made tremendous progress in addressing the issues raised by H.E. the President regarding the National Biosafety Act and as I speak now, the Committee of Parliament on Science, Technology and Innovation is presenting its report to Parliament today.
I will be at the centre of this process, and I seek your support in various ways along this lawmaking process.
I have been informed by the organisers, that a Conference Communique will be issued at the end, I will be waiting to receive your resolutions especially in regard to where we need to go in terms of technical, human resource and policy capacity for biosciences for a bio economy-led development of Uganda. My Ministry will look into them with a possibility of a Cabinet paper which will inform Government policy on biosciences and biotechnology for national development."