June 17, 2024

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The Vital Role of Biotechnology in Enhancing Food Security in Rwanda

The Director General of the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), Dr. Telesphore Ndabamenye, emphasized the crucial role of technology in agriculture during a workshop on Biosafety Regulatory Risk Assessment and Decision Making on Product Release in Rwanda. The objectives of the workshop included enhancing skills in Agricultural Biotechnology reporting, facilitating insightful conversations to enhance agricultural science literacy among journalists and the wider public, and demystifying complex agricultural biotechnological concepts.

Dr. Ndabamenye stressed the importance of technology in agriculture, stating that food production necessitates the use of technology. He highlighted the ongoing work on the cassava seeds in Rwanda, expressing hope that technology will revolutionize agriculture in the country.

Dr. Athanase Nduwumuremyi, Coordinator of Roots & Tubers Program/ Senior Scientist at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Board echoed Dr. Ndabamenye’s sentiments, noting that technology is already making a difference in the agriculture sector in Rwanda. He mentioned the potential distribution of genetically modified cassava plants to farmers as a result of utilizing biotechnology. These GMO crops are designed to withstand the impacts of climate change, which is a significant factor contributing to food security challenges.

One of the key benefits of technology in agriculture is its ability to address plant diseases such as mosaic disease, which has been devastating cassava plants in the Southern province of Rwanda. This disease severely impacted the economy of the region, which heavily relies on cassava production. Dr. Nduwumuremyi expressed optimism that biotechnology will offer a solution to this pressing issue.

Following the confirmation of laws governing biotechnology, cassava plants are poised to be distributed to farmers once trials are completed. There are plans to extend this technology to other crops such as potatoes and maize in the near future.

The integration of biotechnology in agriculture holds immense promise for enhancing food security in Rwanda. Through the application of advanced technologies, the country can mitigate the impact of plant diseases, adapt to climate change challenges, and ultimately improve agricultural productivity for sustainable food production.

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