LUANAR Researcher Dr Kingdom Kwapata

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi has been selected to be part of seven African countries on Genome editing trials for improvement of  crops , animal varieties amid effects of climate change.

Genome editing, a biotechnology mode replaces Genetic Engineering dubbed as Genetic Modified Mechanism (GOM) which attracted controversies across Africa.

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resource (LUANA) Researcher Dr Kingdom Kwapata told The Maravi Post during the end of Africa Biennial Biosciences Communication (ABBC 2021) symposium that Malawi’s nomination into Genome Editing initiative brings relief for improved and better yields from crops and animal.  

Dr Kwapata observes that Genome Editing uses different model but bring meaningful result of more than that of GOM.

“It great achievement for Malawi to be in seven countries out of 54 nations participating in Genome initiative of biotechnology aimed at improving crops and animal varieties amid effect of climate change. Malawi being agro-based economy will benefit greatly on this initiative,” delighted Dr Kwapata.

In her closing remarks Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Entreprise Development Betty Maina demanded political will from African leaders on biotechnology uptake for meaningful results.

About six countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia and Malawi attended the symposium virtually which ran from September 20 to 24, 2021.   

Under the theme “ACCELERATING THE BIOTECH TIPPING POINT: TAKING STOCK AND CELEBRATING THE GAINS”, this year’s ABBC symposium gave a platform for biosciences stakeholders to actively exchange experiences and best practices towards improving bioscience communications.

During the symposium about six African scientists were awarded with certificates for great role in promoting biotechnology.

Malawi’s Professor James Bokosi was among the awardees for outstanding contribution to the development of modern biotechnology in Africa as a researcher, public communicator and policy influencer.

The 2021 ABBC symposium attracted participants from policy and decision makers, science communication experts, scientists, media practitioners with specific focus on editors, technology developers and industry players, regulators, professional associations representing various end-users like farmers and consumers and development partners

The symposium, which provided an African-based and African-led platform was the first of its kind in the region and plays a fundamental role in addressing pressing communication issues needed to propel biosciences innovations in Africa.

The first ABBC, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015, and the second held in Entebbe, Uganda, in 2017, addressed biotechnology and biosafety communications issues, respectively. ABBC 2019, held in South Africa, initiated conscious conversations on genome editing in the region.

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