NCRST holds biosafety awareness workshop at Opuwo

The National Commission on Research, Science, and Technology (NCRST) on Friday, held a one-day awareness workshop on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at Opuwo in the Kunene Region.

The workshop aimed to offer an overview of the Biosafety regulatory framework, Procedures and Guidelines to stakeholders of the NCRST, was also designed to look at the advantages of GMOs, the importance of environmental safety, food safety, and economic factors relevant to GMOs and GMO products.

Kunene regional governor Maruis Sheya in a speech read on his behalf at the workshop, noted that the advent of contemporary science and technology gives significant prospects for enhancing the well-being of people and the environment.

“I’ve been told that biotechnology is one of these advanced sciences in which living systems and organisms are used to create products that benefit human society. Although this is true, there are always risks associated with any new technology or invention,” he said.

Sheya further mentioned that the creation of GMOs has been one of the most contested and discussed aspects of biotechnology and therefore care must be taken to ensure that all levels of society are informed of the benefits, potential impacts, and processes associated with these technologies or innovations.

NCRST Senior biosafety inspector Hilde Amputu in her remarks, emphasized that, despite the fact that Namibians consume GMO products, there are no GMO producers in the nation, despite the presence of GMO seeds.

Amputu also said despite the fact that the introduction of GMOs in Namibia has been riddled with controversy, each new genetically modified crop, food, and feed product is subjected to rigorous testing to determine whether the new gene has the potential to cause harm.

“While there is no technology available to provide evidence of long-term effects on human health, animals, or the environment, every activity involved in the production of GMOs undergoes a scientific risk assessment,” she noted.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency