The National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe (NBA) yesterday launched the Biomaster, an electronic based computer program for processing permits and testing GMO presence in imported goods.
Speaking at the NBA 10 year anniversary ceremony, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Dr Godfrey Gandawa hinted that science and technology was advancing and revolutionising the development of Biotechnology products and how business is being carried out anywhere in the world.
By Pearson Mbendera
NBA has developed an automated e-based computer program called Biomaster for automated processing of permits, even from remote border posts. The Biomaster will go a long way to improve the ease of doing business and the operations of the NBA.”
While there has been a lot of logistical concerns in as much as the acceptance of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into Zimbabwe, the government through NBA has offered ways of ensuring that international standards of GMOs are being met and adhered to, to safeguard the health of the people.
Given the need for food security in Zimbabwe, the probability of the importation of GMOs has always been high but there was never any means to properly test for bio-safety issues concerning GMOs. The Biomaster will help in that regard.
As of now, GMOs are still illegal in Zimbabwe, but with the recent opening of the GMO testing Laboratory and the launching of the Biomaster, inroads and being made to ensure the safety of the people once GMOs are allowed into the market.
“The regulatory function of the NBA provides for consumer rights and informed consumer choice. To this end, my office through the NBA drafted and submitted Genetically Modified (GM) Food and Feed Labelling Regulations to the Attorney General’s office” Dr Gandawa said.
The NBA’s regulatory power have also been increased, something that will contribute to the development of the National Bio-safety Framework since they are the foremost authority in these matters. It remains to be seen how this will affect other aspects of the economy particularly Agriculture.