The National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) has said it is high time the country embraced biotechnology to achieve food security.
NCST director of finance and administration Pongolani Msakambewa said this yesterday after officially opening a Parliamentary Women’s Caucus sensitisation meeting on biotechnology and biosafety in Lilongwe.
He said the use of biotechnology in food security needs to be taken seriously; hence, NCST’s involvement of women parliamentarians who are good communication channels to the communities they serve.
“We would like to interact with women because we know how important women are in making sure that people have enough food.
“It is high time the country explored different ways of using science in making sure food is secure and biotechnology is one of them,” Msakambewa said.
He also said there is need to move towards the adoption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as one way of enhancing food security.
Parliamentary Women’s Caucus chairperson Jessie Kabwila said they are committed to take the use of GMOs to the communities once NCST tells them the pros and cons of the same.
She said other countries in the region such as Uganda have started embracing the technology.
“If the use of the technology will help food security, then we are more than [willing] to use it. But we need to understand first before taking it to the grassroots, so this meeting will be an eye-opener and we will find a way forward to increase availability of food,” said Kabwila.
A researcher at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Wezzie Mkwaila, said people need to put away those fears because change always comes with negativity.
“People in other countries are using the same; we know it is a long process in the country for people to embrace this new technology, which is why we have involved the women MPs to understand us better. GMOs are safe products to use and we will work closely with the regulatory board to make sure we should not bring health hazards,” she said.
Trials for various food items to be GMOs are underway at Luanar and NCST. n