A top agricultural geneticist from the African nation of Kenya will address the International Issues Forum tonight (Friday) in Des Moines. Dr. Florence Wambugu is executive director of the “Harvest Biotechnology Foundation International” and will be speaking about how biotech research is improving crops and helping to improve the lives of impoverished Kenyans.Dr. Wambugu says biotechnology can benefit her people by boosting food production in several crops including yams, sweet potatoes, bananas and sorghum. She acknowledges many nations around the globe discriminate against crops that contain any genetically-modified organisms, or G-M-Os, but she says it’s all a matter of how the advanced science is used.Wambugu says “There are multiple voices and probably that’s good when we are dealing with new science — it needs to be probed. Always science is a double-edged sword. It’s just like a gun. You can use it to protect. You can use it to kill. Anything that comes in our hands depends on how we use it and whether we are going to use it in a responsible way.” Wambugu grew up on a small farm in the Kenyan highlands and faced deprivation and hunger. Now, as a member of the UN Millennium Project’s Hunger Task Force, she says the “cell science” of biotech research promises to save thousands, even millions, of lives. Wambugu is scheduled to speak at 6 P.M. at the Hotel Fort Des Moines.
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