A memorandum of understanding for more collaboration towards building a functional biosafety regime in Mozambique

NEPAD Agency ABNE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Science and Technology, High and Technical Vocational Education in Mozambique on 30th June, 2017.
The NEPAD Agency delegation was led by Dr Jeremy T. Ouedraogo while the Mozambican party was led by Hon. Prof. Dr. Eng. Jorge Olívio Penicela Nhambiu, Minister of Science and Technology, High and Technical Vocational Education.

Dr Jeremy Ouédraogo and Hon. Prof. Dr. Eng. Olívio Penicela Jorge Nhambiu (on right) signing the MoU

In his speech, Dr Ouedraogo thanked the minister for this opportunity to establish a link with the ministry and also see ABNE with African union mandate to sign a MoU for assistance in building the regulatory capacity of Mozambique for a safe use of biotechnology in the country. He pledged the ABNE support drawing from the expertise in Africa and around the world and the ABNE technical expert to help the regulators. He laid out the coordinating effort of NEPAD by establishing networks like ANBAA, Environmental network, Lawyers network, food safety networks to help the member state and tap from the wealth of expertise available within the continent.
Hon. Minister Prof. Dr. Eng. Jorge Olívio Penicela Nhambiu congratulated all those who directly or indirectly contributed to the signing of this memorandum. “Biotechnology is a technique with the potential to contribute to the improvement of agriculture through pest and disease control, thus increasing production and productivity. It can also contribute to the preservation and improvement of the quality of the environment”, he said. “However, it should be developed and used with adequate safety measures for the environment and for human health… With the public act of signing the memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Professional Technician and the NEPAD Agency ABNE, Mozambique will receive technical-scientific support to strengthen Regulatory system in order to respond effectively to the challenges posed by this technology”, he added.
The parties took the opportunity of this event to review ABNE support workplan and Suggest a road map/action plan for strengthening biosafety regulatory capacity in Mozambique. This includes creating an enabling policy and legal environment for biosafety regulation, augmenting functionality of Biosafety Secretariat, improving the critical mass of regulators with enhanced competencies in biosafety regulation, enhancing biosafety communication and cooperation and improving access to biosafety information and training resources.

Group photo of NEPAD Agency ABNE team and officials from Ministry of Science and Technology, High and Technical Vocational Education of Mozambique

ABNE and GIIBs members also visited WEMA maize CFT site at Chokwe with the regional Agriculture Director, his team and some local news. The site manager ensured that regulatory rules were strictly adhered to including the signing of visitor’s notebook.
During the interaction with the media, the director of ABNE expressed satisfaction on the level of competency shown by the team working on the field and the strict adherence to rules. He also emphasised the role of regulation of the technology and the use of the technology safely to benefit the farmers. In his reaction, the senior Scientist expressed gratitude for the ABNE and GIIBs visit. He express his openness to any observation to improve on the operation of the CFT and also explained that the present trial is tested only for the gene that confer resistant to insect pest and the other gene for drought will be tested for during the dry spell of Mozambique agro-ecology planting season.