LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s scientists this week were tipped on the need for complying with biotechnology and biosafety laws in a bid to lessen legal fights that might encounter during research trials.
The scientists have been therefore urged to be conversant with current international legal framework when conducting researches.
This comes as the country is still using old biosafety Act which was passed in 2002; biosafety regulations in 2007 and the national biotechnology and biosafety policy were enacted in 2008.
This means that emerging issues in the biotech industry might not tally with the laws the country is using hence heavy huddles when researches are conducted.
Akile Sunday, Legal and Policy Program officer for African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE) under New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) observed that following rules and regulation properly catalyze trials safety results.
Sunday added that legal compliance to states’ and international statues ease law suits that lessen economic implications when trials are aborted.
The ABNE legal expert told The Maravi Post in exclusive interview following his presentation during the just ended two-day conference on sensitization and awareness creation on biosafety for regulators and other stakeholders in Malawi.
In his representation, titled, “Anticipation and management of legal cases in agriculture Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs); experiences from Africa,” Sunday said research trials must be done smartly and properly for humans safety.
He therefore urged state executing agencies on environmental including the public to be vigilant in monitoring trials that affect people for their safety.
“GMOs trials are very crucial in people’s lives hence the need for scientists to take serious measures for humans safety. With total compliance of any particular country’ laws or international legal instruments lessen law suits in courts,” urges Sunday.
Ben Yasin, Deputy Director for Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy, Mines and Climate Change management observed that mindset towards GMOs has been negative amongst the populace.
Yasin added that the continent states including Malawi cannot do away with biotechnology saying the notion maximizes agricultural production that averts hunger crisis.
The conference attracted scientists, researchers, media, and agricultural extension workers among other whose objectives were to facilitate interaction among national stakeholders on biosafety / biotechnology regulation and also providing refresher training on agricultural biosafety and biotechnology to members of NBRC and other stakeholders
Malawi has a fully functional biosafety regulatory committee that deliberates on applications for trials and a functional biosafety registrar’s office.
These instruments have made possible for Malawi to progress with trials of three genetically modified crops which are now at different stages as the country gears up for commercializing.