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Opiyo Oloya on Uganda’s Food Sovereignty


“Though it has been found safe for human consumption, I am not in favour of genetically modified crops (GMO) in Uganda or elsewhere on the African continent mostly because of the proprietary requirements. 

GMO will enslave our farmers to big multinationals like Monsanto that will demand that farmers buy the GMO seeds annually. The age-old proven method of keeping seeds from previous harvests for planting in the new rainy season will be discarded as farmers are forced to buy new seed from the licensing company every year. 

This is completely anti-community, anti-sustainability, anti-everything that is good for Africa. I do not want my mother carted off to jail simply because she dared to retain seeds from previous harvests to plant in the new season. That is precisely what will happen if we allow GMO to invade Africa.”

This is advice that Opiyo Oloya  directed to Norah Owaraga through an open letter that was published on 2nd June 2009 in the New Vision and was titled: Norah, tell Europeans what they are not used to hearing.” At the time, Norah, who is now the CPAR Uganda Ltd (CPAR) Managing Director, was an independent activist and she had been invited to participate in a high level conference on development aid; during which conference she had been invited to be a panellist in a discussion which was to debate two questions:

·         How can we increase agricultural production in order to overcome hunger and eliminate malnutrition? 

·         Should we go the genetic engineering way or should we focus on ecological agriculture and the role of smallholders? 

Oloya’s life, socialisation, education and career began in Pamin-Yai Village in Amuru District in Northern Uganda, where he was born in 1957. Oloya has soared high as a great educator and an active citizen who is fully engaged in important discourse that has direct impact on lives and livelihoods of his fellow citizens in his homeland, Uganda; in Canada where he is resident; and globally.

Great mentors and great achievers, such as Oloya, are among the wealth of resources that CPAR Uganda Ltd aims to tap into and to utilise them and their body of work to mentor and “Support Disadvantaged Student Interns in Uganda.”  Particularly so, if logistics allow, CPAR intends to broker and facilitate dialogue sessions between CPAR mentees and great achievers from varied disciplines that will enable the mentees to gain practical work experience for doing research, policy analysis and advocacy for better public service delivery.

Make a donation now and contribute to improving standards of living by helping CPAR to mentor disadvantaged universities students to facilitate genuine grassroots participation in discourse on pertinent issues, such as the GMO debate and many more, which issues potentially have direct consequence on the livelihoods of a significant section of Uganda’s population. Genuine wider grassroots participation in such debates will likely contribute to minimising or averting the enactment of ill-informed policies and/or the negative consequences of such polices.


Photo Credit: New Vision


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