Food safety and quality
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Focal Point Information

Organization/agency name (Full name):
Uganda National Council for Science and Technology
Contact person name:
Physical full address:
P.O.BOX 6884, Kampala
Phone number:
Fax number:
Country introduction

Uganda is a signatory to the Cartagena protocol and the CBD. This illustrated the need for a distinct biosafety law. In November 2018, the Parliament of Uganda passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill, 2018. The Bill seeks to provide mechanisms to regulate the use of biotechnology and genetically modified organisms in Uganda. The Genetic Engineering Bill, 2018 is a revision of the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, 2012 that had been passed by the August House in October 2017 but was not assented to by the President. The President sent the Bill back to Parliament, requesting several revisions including: the Bill’s title; provisions on patent rights on indigenous farming products; and provisions for sanctions for scientists who mix GMOs with indigenous crops and animals.

However,  following Parliament's passing of the revised Bill and sending the bill for assent.   In August 2019,  the President has again written to parliament of Uganda, for the second time  rejecting the bill reiteriating concerns on, intellectual rights, liability,  benefit sharing, adminstrative arrangement. Parliament is yet to consider the new suggestions by the president. 

In the Interim, regulatory mechanisms, the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) established under the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology Act is the Competent Authority for the regulation of Biotechnology and Biosafety activities in Uganda.  UNCST develops regulations and policies, conducts safety assessments, and establishes standards and policies in collaboration with the National Bureau of Standards for biotechnology in Uganda..

Research and development of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Uganda was initiated in 2003 with the launch of a national agricultural biotechnology center at Kawanda in central Uganda. The country has now approved 17 field experiments for GE plants, which were first established in 2006 with the planting of a banana confined field trial that evaluated performance of plants modified to express resistance to black sigatoka disease. Researchers leading the GE experiments have indicated that some of these GE plants are ready for environmental release that is moving beyond confined field testing toward commercialization. The government of Uganda, over the past two decades, has supported processes to put in place an effective national biosafety framework including establishment of a supportive policy environment; creation of a clear institutional framework for handling applications and issuance of permits; building critical capacity for risk analysis; and providing options for public engagement during decision-making. Uganda is ready to make a biosafety decision regarding environmental release of GE plants based on the level of capacity built, progress with priority GE crop research in the country, and the advancement in biosafety systems. Enactment of a national biosafety law that provides for a coordinated framework for implementation by the relevant regulatory agencies will strengthen the system further




Regulatory framework:
My country has a regulatory framework that requires the competent authority to conduct safety assessment of GM food.
Structure for GM food safety assessment:
My country has competent authority, agency, organization, ministry, department, committee, commission or a system/mechanism that is tasked to conduct or review GM food safety assessment.
Supplemental information:
Contact details of the competent authority(s) responsible for the safety assessment and the product applicant:

National Biosafety Committee Secretariat 

Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, Plot 6 Kimera Road, Ntinda

P.O. Box 6884 Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 414 705500

GM food safety assessment guidelines:
My country follows the relevant Codex Guidelines or national/regional guidelines that are in line with the Codex Guidelines in conducting safety assessment of GM food.
Conduct of GM food safety assessment:
My country does not regularly conduct food safety assessment of GM food, but has conducted at least once in the past.
Supplemental information on the implementation:
Stacked events
Regulation of stacked events:
My country is in the process of developing relevant regulations on stacked events.
Supplemental information on the stacked events:
Production and trade
GM food/feed production:
My country produces GM food or feed only for research purposes.
GM food/feed imports:
My country allows imports GM food or feed upon authorization.
Supplemental information on the production and trade:
LLP/AP incidents
LLP/AP incidents:
My country has not faced any LLP/AP situations in the last 10 years.
Supplemental information on the LLP/AP incidents:
Labelling requirement
Labelling requirement:
My country has a mandatory and positive/negative labeling regulation on GM food.
Supplemental information on the Labelling requirement:

The labelling requirement is embedded in several standards for crops/products that have GM varieties such as rice and maize (corn).

Relevant links to documents and information prepared by the competent authority responsible for the safety assessment
Other relevant documents:
Country information last modified: