APEC member economies are seeking to widen the availability of agricultural biotechnologies to help ensure adequate food supplies and boost the livelihoods of farmers. Agricultural and biotechnology experts from around the Pacific Rim laid the groundwork for increased regulatory and technical collaboration in support of these objectives during a recent joint meeting...
“We are focused on improving innovation within the agricultural sector as a path towards greater food security,” Dr Subagyono explained. “This includes cross-cutting support for agricultural biotechnologies to enhance crop yields and reduce losses due to weather, pests or post-harvest transport and handling.” Greater innovation within the sector is needed to mitigate the effects of climate change on biodiversity and food production, he added.
The progress of this effort has important implications for business and socio-economic development.
Participants agreed that biotechnologies can boost production for small, rural farmers and thus play a role in alleviating poverty. Biotechnologies also have the capacity to lessen the impact of agriculture on the environment by limiting the need for pesticides and irrigation, they said. But their increased development and use require a complementary policy environment.
“When economies deploy varying rules and regulations for agricultural development and management, it becomes more difficult for new ideas and innovations to flow across borders,” said Dr Karden Mulya, representing Chair of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnologies. “APEC economies are intent on enhancing policy harmonization within the sector... Such harmonization is needed to lower barriers that impact agricultural trade and investment, and foster the co-development and transfer of biotechnology that can benefit small-scale farmers.”
Measures that promote increased transparency and understanding of agricultural sector regulation are key agenda focuses. Providing governing bodies with knowledge and tools that support the implementation of best practices, identified through the sharing of experiences in biotechnologies and biogenetic resource management, is another area of emphasis...
“Science and technology are of great importance in ensuring food security,” Dr Tang concluded. “As biotechnologies become a more integral component of agricultural production and public confidence grows as their value becomes more apparent, there is an opportunity to take significant steps forward in addressing the region’s long-term agricultural demands.”
Via Alexander J. Stein