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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Cuba adopts legal norm for responsible use of GMOs

Havana, Jul 23.- Cuban scientists create a National Commission for the Use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), destined to the control and orderly use of this biotechnological technique as an alternative for the country's agricultural development, its organizers announced.

The norm for its use, protected by Decree Law no. 4, is part of a package of policies associated with the scientific and technological capacities of the country and in the search for seed production under this agricultural biotechnological process.

The decree, published today in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba, is complemented by resolutions no. 198 and 199 issued by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma), in June 2020 and chaired by the commission.

The first of these is the regulation on the exchange of information on the island in relation to the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety of the Convention on Biological Diversity; and the second associated with biological safety, for the use of agents and their products, organisms and fragments of these with genetic information.

It is about incorporating the orderly and controlled use of GMOs as an alternative to increase agricultural productivity, stated Armando Rodríguez, deputy minister of Citma at a press conference.

Its implementation, he argued, is consistent with sustainable development, the challenge is to take advantage of production capacities in a sustainable way, without environmental damage.

The commission promotes controlled production, creates structures with the capacity to conduct a training plan, he added.

The purpose of the group of legal norms is to harmonize the decision-making process between the different authorities for its use in agriculture and its orderly and safe incorporation as a variant to increase yields, based on scientific results on varieties, agricultural attributes, among others. aspects.

The provisions will be applicable to all agricultural activities that use GMOs such as research, testing, release to the environment for productive purposes, import and export, as well as human and animal food, including processing, storage, transportation and marketing.

The group is also made up of authorities from Citma, Agriculture and the Ministry of Public Health.

Organisms in which genetic material (DNA) has been artificially altered, GMOs are based on so-called modern biotechnology, genetic technology, or recombinant DNA technology, which allows transfer of selected individual genes from one organism to another, as well between unrelated species.

The main objective of GM crops on the market today is to increase the level of crop protection by introducing resistance to diseases caused by insects or viruses to plants or by increasing tolerance to herbicides.

Cuba has experiences in the cultivation of this type of corn and soybeans, in which producers predict a very significant impact on the national economy in the short and medium terms. (PL) (Photo taken from Granma Digital)