The Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) hosted the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) for a biotechnology and biosafety study tour on 29 April 2014 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa.
The delegates constituted biotechnology and biosafety policy makers and legislators from selected African countries (including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana). The study tour was organised by AfricaBio in collaboration with AATF.
Dr Rachel Chikwamba, Acting Executive Director, CSIR Biosciences: “We would like to welcome you to the CSIR. The CSIR is a leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth. The CSIR has different research areas, and today you are hosted by the Biosciences unit. The CSIR Biosciences is an operating unit within the CSIR that aims to lead the establishment of a sustainable bio-economy in South Africa. We are looking forward to sharing biotechnology and biosafety expertise with you.
Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), AfricaBio, said: “The purpose of the visit is for the biotechnology and biosafety policymakers in Africa to gain better understanding of the role the CSIR plays in the research and development of agricultural biotechnology in South Africa and in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.”
The visit opened a door for discussion where the visiting delegates were able to ask questions and also seek advice on issues related biotechnology and biosafety.
Dr Ereck Chakauya, Network Manager (Interim), SANBio said: “As a shared research, development and innovation platform in the SADC region SANBio plays a major role in solving key biosciences issues in health, nutrition and health-related intervention areas such as agriculture and environment.”
“We encourage visits such as this one because it allows us to share knowledge and expertise. There are certain things that, here in Southern Africa, we might be making progress on but there are other things we can learn from you and that’s how technology should be transferred,” concluded Ereck.
The tour was concluded with a tour of facilities which allowed delegates to experience the kind of infrastructure and interact with some experts in their areas of interest.
AATF is a non-profit organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya, whose mandate is to facilitate and promote public/private partnerships for the access and delivery of appropriate agricultural technologies for sustainable use by smallholder. The study tour was done in collaboration with AfricaBio.