The Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA AfriCenter) to implement the COMESA Biotechnology Implementation Plan (COMBIP).

The MoU signed in Lusaka on 5 June 2024 outlines several areas where ISAAA AfriCenter and COMESA-ACTESA will work together which includes rolling out a communications strategy on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety to raise awareness and address misinformation through facilitating appropriate stakeholder engagement platforms.

They will also build capacity of media practitioners to objectively and accurately communicate biotechnology and biosafety to the general public. Other areas include supporting sharing of biosafety regulatory experiences among COMESA Member States by creating a one-stop source of biotech approvals and regulatory systems.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, COMESA-ACTESA Chief Executive Officer Dr John Mukuka said the institution is looking forward to the collaborative effort that the MoU brings as the two parties are ready to work together and implement the activities.

“We are happy about this collaboration because we believe that increased awareness and understanding of agricultural biotechnology and biosafety in the COMESA region is needed and a more informed public discourse is long overdue,” Dr Mukuka added.

ISAAA AfriCenter Director Dr Margaret Karembu described the MoU as a significant step towards achieving the goals of COMBIP, which has taken more than ten years to be developed.

“Working together with COMESA-ACTESA, we will contribute a more productive and sustainable agricultural sector by harnessing proven scientific tools,” she said.

Through the MoU, the two institutions will identify opportunities for experiential learning about new and emerging breeding innovations for ensuring agricultural competitiveness in the region. It is also expected that strategic linkages will be formulated between the private sector and research institutions to promote investment in agricultural biotechnology development.

COMBIP was developed after the endorsement of the COMESA Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy by the Council of Ministers in 2014.

COMESA-ACTESA, is a specialised agency of COMESA which works to address staple food production and boost regional agricultural trade while ISAAA AfriCenter is a non-profit organisation that empowers stakeholders with knowledge on safe use of biotechnology for agricultural advancements.


Story by . Re-blogged from COMESA website.