Crop Biotech Update

Bt Brinjal Cultivation in Bangladesh Follows Biosafety Measures, Says Ag Minister

March 12, 2014

Matia Chowdhury, Minister for Agriculture unveiled the ISAAA Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops 2013, as the Chief Guest in a seminar on 26 February 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In her keynote speech, the lady minister explained the research, development, and extension activities on biotech crops in the country, where Bt brinjal has recently been cultivated compliant with the stringent regulatory measures for biosafety and environmental risk assessment of the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol, and the enabling regulatory measures formulated and gazetted by the government. The minister emphasized that "Being an overpopulated country, we will not hesitate in using biotechnology if it is proven to be useful and safe for human, animal and for the environment." She urged the scientists to develop new crop varieties through frontier research using biotechnology to combat the environmental hazards like salinity, drought, submergence, and cold.

Dr. Clive James, founder and emeritus chair ISAAA presented  the Global Biotech Status for 2013. Dr. Randy Hautea, ISAAA global coordinator has elaborated the biotech maize experience in the Philippines whereas, Mr. Bhagirath Choudhary, ISAAA India director explained the Bt cotton progress in India. Prof. Dr. Md. Rafiqul Hoque, vice chancellor, Bangladesh Agriculural University as the Guest of Honor of the seminar also appreciated the government initiative of releasing biotech crop in Bangladesh keeping the biosafety matters in to consideration. Dr. Md. Kamal Uddin, executive chairman, BARC and the director generat of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) chaired the seminar and claimed the success of scientists in sequencing the genomes of jute and Macrophomina.

Bangladesh Biotechnology Information Centre (BdBIC) and the International Service for the Acquisition Of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) in collaboration with Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) organized the seminar which was attended by around 350 policy planners, academicians, researchers, extension officers, research students, and journalists.

For details on the seminar and information on biotechnology in Bangladesh, contact Prof. D. Khondoker Nasiruddin at nasirbiotech@yahoo.com.