Rwanda has moved a step closer towards harnessing the benefits of modern biotechnology following the introduction of a draft biosafety law. The Cabinet approved the law on 13th July 2023 and has since been tabled in Parliament for scrutiny before it is passed as a new law. 

The draft law provides a framework for ensuring safe and sustainable use of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The law establishes a National Biosafety Committee whose mandate is to review GMO applications and advise Rwanda Environment Management Authority. Institutional Biosafety Committees will regulate contained use and confined field trials of GMO activities.

The Government is banking on modern biotechnology to contribute towards attainment of Rwanda Vision 2050 that aims at ensuring high quality standards of living for all Rwandans while targeting attainment of upper middle-income country status by 2035 and high income status by 2050. The law, once approved, will be an important instrument in ensuring the Government utilizes this technology to achieve its goal.

Currently Rwanda is conducting confined field trials for a GMO cassava resistant to cassava brown streak virus disease (CBSD), a vicious disease that threatens production of this crop. Cassava is a staple for most communities in the country and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Click here to access the Draft Biosafety Law