Linkage Between Biotechnology and Poverty Reduction and Food Security

Agricultural biotechnology will contribute to poverty reduction and food security if scientists can develop technologies to increase quality and yields of food crops, and the technologies are adopted by small farmers. For this to happen, biotechnology R& D will have to meet four conditions (i) It must address both the problems of small farmers in rainfed areas where most of the poor live, and those of small farmers in irrigated areas, which provide the bulk of food grain supply in Asia. (ii)...

Definition History and Scope of Biotechnology

Biotechnology, broadly defined, includes any technique that uses living organisms, or parts of such organisms, to make or modify products, to improve plants or animals, or to develop microorganisms for specific use. It ranges from traditional biotechnology to the most advanced modern biotechnology. Biotechnology is not a separate science but rather a mix of disciplines (genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, and cell biology) converted into productive processes by linking them...

Tolerance for Abiotic Stresses

Drought, and soil salinity and acidity are among the most important constraints to agricultural production. They cause severe yield losses of all major food crops worldwide. In the drought prone northwest, water is a major limiting factor for crop production in south and central PRC, soil acidity is a major limiting factor and salinity affects large areas in the east coast region. Drought tolerance has been the subject of many studies in several major food crops including rice, maize, and...

Fisheries and Aquaculture

Molecular markers are of growing importance in biodiversity research, genome mapping, and trait selection in fish and other aquatic organisms. International groups are already collaborating on developing genetic maps of tilapia, common carp, salmonids, catfish, zebra fish and puffer fish. The feasibility of developing and using transgenic species of fish is being explored by several research institutes and companies in the UK and the US on various species including tilapia and salmon. Indeed,...

Current Status of Agricultural Biotechnology in Asia

Several emerging economies in Asia, including the PRC, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam, are making major investments in modern biotechnology to further the aim of improving food security and reducing poverty. In addition, several regional and international programs and a growing number of private sector companies are working on biotechnology. The PRC is most advanced in the use of genetically modified crops. There are at least 500,000 ha of genetically...

Genetically Modified Organisms Food and Environmental Issues

In industrialized countries, considerable progress has been made in methods, approaches, and experience in the safe management of GMOs. Overall these methods have proven to be effective, particularly with respect to food safety. The development of a transgenic soybean containing a protein derived from Brazil nuts, potentially useful in animal feed, was abandoned when the safety assessment revealed that the protein was probably an allergen. In response to consumer concerns, antibiotic markers...

Food Safety Concerns

The potential risks of biotechnology on human health may include toxic reactions, increased cancer risks, food allergies, food contamination, and antibiotic resistance (Table 4.1). There is also concern that GMOs in animal feed might present a health risk for consumers, or for the animal itself. Consumers are also concerned about the long-term health effects of genetically modified foods. To address food safety concerns, the following safeguards have been adopted by some countries (i) Some...

Examples of Public Private Sector Collaboration in Asia

Public-private sector partnerships take a wide variety of forms. In India, an Indian-Swiss project funded by the Swiss Development Corporation involves Swiss research institutes or universities, Indian public research institutes, and private Indian companies in research, development, and production of biofertilizers and biopesticides. In Thailand a partnership between an industry consortium and BIOTEC, the national public biotechnology institute, brought about the development and...

Selected Country Experiences

Several governments in Asia are committed to the use of modern biotechnology in agriculture. They have devoted significant human and financial resources to this policy over the past two decades. Some illustrations of current activities in selected countries are given below. Further details on individual countries are contained in Appendixes 3 to 10 and summarized in Table 3.1. The PRC accords high priority to biotechnology to increase food production and improve product quality in an...

Biotechnology Activities of the Cgiar Centers Relevant in Asia

Table A11.1 CGIAR Centers with Crop Improvement Activities in Asia Table A11.1 CGIAR Centers with Crop Improvement Activities in Asia Centro Internacional de Agricultural Tropical (International Center for Tropical Agriculture Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) Centro Internacional de la Papa (International Potato Center) International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics Sorghum, Millet, Groundnut, Chickpea,...

National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

The National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) was established under the Ministry for Science, Technology and Energy in 1983. When in 1991 Thailand established the National Science and Technology Development Agency, BIOTEC became one of the Agency's centers. It operates autonomously outside the normal framework of civil service and state enterprises. This enables it to operate more effectively to support and transfer technology for the development of industry,...

Introduction

The agricultural sector has contributed substantially to the growth and development of the Malaysian economy. This has created a rich economic base to promote the rapid development of the industrial and manufacturing sectors, which has taken place since the mid 1980s. Structural change in the economy between l985 and l995 have seen the relative contribution of the agriculture sector to employment generation decline from 31.3 percent to 19 percent and export earnings from 36.7 percent to 19.2...

Conclusions and Recommendations

The major conclusion of this study is that the governments and funding agencies should continue and increase their investments in biotechnology as a means of achieving their goals of poverty reduction and food security in Asia over the next 25 years. Achieving these goals with presently available technologies will be difficult, given the present trends and challenges facing the rural sector in Asian environments. Accordingly, it is recommended that the following measures be considered by ADB...

Ethical and Biosafety Issues

Biosafety guidelines for genetically modified organisms need to be strictly followed to prevent harm to human health and the environment. It is important to give clear explanations of the new biotechnologies to the public to allay their fears. New models of cooperation and partnership have to be established to ensure close linkages among research scientists, extension workers, industry, the farming community, and consumers. A three-tier mechanism of institutional biosafety committees has been...

Human Resource Development

There are about 50 approved biotechnology masters, postdoctoral, and medical training programs in different institutions and universities covering most Indian states. Short-term training programs, technician training courses, fellowships for study abroad, training courses in Indian institutions, popular lecture series, awards, and incentives form an integral part of human resource development in India. Since 1996, both industry and biotechnology-based programs in research institutions have...

Insect Resistance

Genes for resistance to various insects have been identified in many crop species and their wild relatives, including gall midge and brown planthopper resistance in rice, and pink borer resistance in cotton. A number of insect resistance genes have also been genetically tagged and mapped using molecular markers (Zhang and Yu 1999). These genes can be directly used in crop breeding programs using MAS. An important strategy in the development of insect-resistant crop varieties is the use of...

Intellectual Property Management

A set of intellectual property right (IPR) issues is associated with biotechnology. They include (i) lack of access of poor farmers to the new technologies and products, (ii) losses of ownership rights of some developing countries over their own indigenous genetic resources, (iii) lack of incentives for the free flow of technologies and products from developed to developing countries, and (iv) a growing danger that the free flow of agricultural materials between countries will be impeded. The...

International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) is brokering public-private sector partnerships to facilitate technology transfer. It has current regional projects to increase the productivity of maize, papaya, and sweetpotato. ISAAA is also establishing a new Asian knowledge center for crop biotechnology, based in the Philippines, in partnership with CAB International and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture. Its...

ISNAR Biotechnology Service

The ISNAR Biotechnology Service (IBS), with Japanese support, has been assisting selected Asian countries in developing human resources for managing biotechnology research programs or institutions. IBS has developed specialized courses to enhance the capacity and competency of managers, focusing on strategy building, priority setting, managing biosafety and regulatory aspects, resource generation and deployment, product delivery, and information sharing as well as the establishment and...

Issues

Because the private sector invests heavily in, and holds many of the advanced biotechnologies, new discoveries in biotechnology may be protected by plant variety protection, patents, or trade secrets. This raises the issue of IPR. The 1995 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIP) requires all countries to provide some sort of protection for plant varieties. TRIP requires all signatories to extend IP protection to microorganisms, plant genetic material, and techniques...

Future Strategy

The Indian Government has made substantial investments in biotechnology research. Bringing Indian biotechnology products to market will require substantial investments from Indian and overseas investors. The worldwide trend is that large companies are becoming major players in developing biotechnology products and in supporting product-related biotechnology research. In the years ahead, biotechnology R& D should produce a large number of new, genetically improved plant varieties in India,...

Livestock Improvement

The main applications of new biotechnologies to livestock are in genetic improvement, reproductive technologies (e.g., fertility monitoring and embryo transfer), and animal health (through diagnostics and vaccines). These new technologies speed the reproductive process, thus allowing more generations to be produced over the life of an animal. They also enable the more efficient selection of breeds with increased productivity. Phenotypes of commercial livestock breeds that are highly productive...

Micropropagation and Tissue Culture Techniques

Tissue culture and other micropropagation techniques are a practical means of providing disease-free plantlets of current varieties with significantly increased yields by the removal of pests and pathogens. These technologies have been especially useful in vegetatively propagated species (i.e. those that do not readily produce seed) such as sweetpotato and banana. It is relatively widely used in developed and developing countries, particularly in tropical countries. indonesia and Thailand, for...

Modern Plant Breeding

The application of biotechnology to agricultural crops has traditionally involved the selective crossing of two parent plants to produce offspring having desired traits such as increased yields, disease resistance, or enhanced product quality. Such active plant breeding has led to the development of superior plant varieties far more rapidly than would have occurred in the wild due to random crossing. Traditional methods of gene exchange, however, are limited to crosses between the same or...

Need for Increased Public Private Sector Collaboration

Public investment in agricultural biotechnology is crucial for achieving future food security and reducing poverty. The private sector is unlikely to undertake much of the R& D needed by small farmers because it sees little potential for return on investment. Accelerated public investments are needed to develop biotechnology applications that address difficult problems in rainfed and marginal areas. And additional private and philanthropic resources are required because most governments in...

Options

Obtaining a clear view of which crops and characters should be targets for genetic manipulation in Asian developing countries is a critical step, but it has rarely been addressed systematically (Woodend 1994). Research should focus on crops relevant to small farmers and poor consumers in developing countries cassava, yam, sweetpotato, rice, maize, wheat, millet, and possibly papaya. The limitation is that relatively little biotechnology research is being undertaken on many of Asia's basic food...

Policy and Priority Setting

Considerable biotechnology R& D is already being carried out in Asian countries, particularly in the more developed countries such as PRC, India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand. They and other Asian countries should establish clear policies and priorities in agricultural biotechnology R& D to ensure that the output will contribute significantly toward poverty reduction and food security. Policies will need to take into account (i) the high level of capital and technical skills...

Potential Risks of Biotechnology

The public debate on biotechnology has been focused on GMOs, one of the many products of biotechnology. The public perception is that genetically engineered foods and crops may have food biosafety, environmental, socioeconomic, and ethical risks. Some of these risks are genuine and need to be addressed by the public and private sectors to ensure that GMOs are widely accepted. An open, transparent, and inclusive food safety policy and regulatory process is required. The potential long-term...

Role of Government

To use agricultural biotechnology safely and effectively for the benefit of small farmers in Asia, governments in the region should (i) Demonstrate a strong commitment to agriculture and rural development by providing adequate budget and staffing to the sector in general and agricultural biotechnology in particular. (ii) Establish clear polices and priorities in biotechnology R& D to ensure that it can contribute effectively and safely toward poverty reduction and food security. (iii)...

Socioeconomic Concerns

Modern biotechnology R& D has been conducted in an institutional and economic environment that differs significantly from the development of the earlier Green Revolution technologies. While the latter were essentially the prerogative of public research institutions and philanthropic foundations, developments in biotechnology have been driven essentially as a competitive, commercial endeavor in which powerful private sector actors compete. The major socioeconomic risk of agricultural...

Suggested Policy for ADB on Agricultural Biotechnology

(i) Assist DMCs in policy and priority setting to enhance investments in the safe applications of biotechnology. (ii) Increase dialogue with its DMCs in identifying potential benefits and opportunities in the use of different biotechnologies to address specific targets. (iii) Strengthen risk assessment and management capabilities in its DMCs through systematic capacity building. (iv) Facilitate access to proprietary technologies and encourage greater private and public sector cooperation in the...

The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol

Preoccupation with the protection of biological diversity, necessary for sustaining agriculture and food production and, indeed, life itself, became a topic of international debate during the 1980s. As a result, FAO established the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources as a nonlegally-binding agreement for cooperation in the conservation of genetic material. The agreement was based on the universally accepted principle that plant genetic resources are a heritage of mankind and...

The Rockefeller Foundation

Operational from 1984-1999, the Rice Biotechnology Network sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation was very active and successful in the region. The program's two objectives were to (i) to create biotechnology applications to produce improved rice varieties suited to developing country needs, and (ii) to train scientists in developing countries to use the techniques and adopt them to their own objectives. A network of about 200 senior scientists and 300 trainee scientists from all the major...

Tree Breeding and Selection Programs

Tree breeding programs and selection of superior tree types (provenances) have been responsible for remarkable increases in wood productivity. In conventional breeding, the chance of selected traits being transferred to offspring is still governed by chance. Biotechnology now enables breeders to accurately pinpoint in what part of the chromosome the selected traits can be found and to transfer the gene from the parent to the recipient. This approach is especially important in tree breeding...

United Nations Agencies

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is giving high priority to biotechnology within its Asia Pacific regional programs (FAO 2000). During 1989-1993, the United Nations Development Programme financed the establishment of biotechnology centers in eight countries (PRC, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Thailand) to share rDNA techniques in animal improvement, embryo transfer, and disease control. In 1994 the United Nations Industrial Development...

World Bank

The World Bank has supported the development of infrastructure and human resource development for biotechnology in several Asian countries over the past 15 years. This support has come through loans in the agricultural sector, science and technology, and education. There are currently substantial components for biotechnology within agricultural technology projects in India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. The Inter University Centers for Biotechnology in Indonesia were built with a 150 million loan in...

Economic Concentration in Agricultural Biotechnology

Modern biotechnology R& D has been conducted in an institutional and economic environment that differs significantly from the development of the earlier Green Revolution technologies. While the latter were essentially the prerogative of public research institutions and philanthropic foundations, the application of modern biotechnology to agriculture is essentially a competitive, commercial endeavor in which powerful private sector interests compete. Similarly, while the Green Revolution...

Opportunities for Collaboration

The public sector can expand private sector research for small farmers by converting some of the social benefits to private gains, e.g., by offering to buy exclusive rights to newly developed technology and making it available free or for a nominal charge to small farmers. The private research agency would bear the risks, as it does when developing technology for the market. This arrangement is similar to that proposed by Sachs for developing a malaria vaccine for use in Africa. Public-private...

Characterizing Biodiversity

Modern biotechnology also offers new opportunities for characterizing, conserving, and using biodiversity. Comparative studies may facilitate (i) the systematic search for useful genes that may be found in one germplasm selection without having to discover the genes for a particular trait in each crop, (ii) identification of genetic resources containing useful allelic combinations, (iii) understanding the genetics underlying important traits, and (iv) understanding the structure of diversity...

Public Perception of Risks

As with any science and technology, biotechnology can bring with it benefits and risks. It is the risks of agricultural biotechnology that have received widespread publicity in the media even though biotechnology has also been applied to health and industrial sectors. Environmental NGOs have been particularly vocal in taking issue with the new technologies derived from or incorporating GMOs. As a consequence, in the public debate biotechnology has become synonymous with GMOs, although they are...

Institutional Arrangements

The national biotechnology program is implemented by several Centers for Excellence. (i) Center for Excellence on Agricultural Biotechnology I, coordinated by the Central Research Institute for Food Crops, and Center for Excellence on Agricultural Biotechnology II, coordinated by the R& D Center for Biotechnology (LIPI), both in Bogor. (ii) Center for Excellence on Health Biotechnology, coordinated by the Medical Faculty of the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. (iii) Center for Excellence...

Future Biotechnology Policy

Despite the economic crisis of 1997, biotechnology remains a high priority in Indonesia, although the focus and direction have been adjusted to the current economic conditions. The first priority is to apply existing biotechnologies for product(s) in response to the needs of the people, especially in food production, traditional medicine, and value-added agricultural products for import substitution and export. The second priority is strategic research in response to the rapid development of...

Agricultural Biotechnology in the Philippines9

In 1997, the combined area devoted to agriculture in the Philippines was 10.3 million hectares ha , with coconut being the most widely planted crop 4 million ha , followed by rice 3.5 million ha , maize 1.2 million ha , banana 200,000 ha , pineapple 40,000 ha and others Bureau of Agricultural Statistics Report, 1997 . The country is a major producer of coconut, sugarcane, banana, and pineapple. The export value of sugarcane and coffee has declined considerably in recent years. More than 70...

Foreword

Recent breakthroughs in biotechnology have led to rapid progress in understanding the genetic basis of living organisms, and the ability to develop products and processes useful to human and animal health, food and agriculture, and industry. In agriculture, there is increasing use of biotechnology for genetic mapping and marker-assisted selection to aid more precise and rapid development of new strains of improved crops and livestock. Other biotechnology applications such as tissue culture and...

Future Perspective

To date, a number of Asian countries have made substantial investments in biotechnology R amp D initiatives. Some public research institutions have reached the stage of field testing of new crop varieties, major research projects are coming to fruition in IARCs in the region, and private companies are also conducting research in the region, or have products waiting to be commercialized and exported to the region. It will be necessary to have biosafety procedures in place to ensure that the...