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Crop Biotech Update

GM Tech a Must in Bangladesh for Food Security and Poverty Alleviation, says Ag Minister

August 5, 2011

Agriculture Minister of Bangladesh Matia Chowdhury emphasized that genetically modified organisms (GMO) is a must to feed and to alleviate poverty in a developing country like Bangladesh. "Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries for natural calamities due to climate change in addition to its inherent disadvantages of perennial flood, drought and problem soils like salinity. Thus, our food and feed demand is very high and we need resistant and tolerant crops against biotic and abiotic problems," said the Minister.

Chowdhury was the chief guest during a seminar on "Agriculture and Food Security: Emerging Research Initiatives" at Roposhi Bangla Hotel, Dhaka on 24 July 2011. The seminar was organized by The Asia Foundation and funded by USAID. The Minister also shared her experience in visiting Cornell University where scientists have transferred genes to develop temperature and salinity tolerant wheat varieties. She hopes that Bengali scientists will be able to avail of this technology for application in the country once it is available.

Other noted experts include Dr. M A Sattar Mondal, Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh who gave the keynote address on "Overview of emerging issues on agriculture and food security"; and Drs. KM Nasiruddin, Md Shamsuddin, and Md Kamal on "Synthesis of frontiers in agricultural research" on crop, livestock and fisheries, respectively. Russell Pepe, Chief of Party, promoting democratic Institutions and Practices (PRODIP) explained that the participatory dialogue among scientists and lawmakers will make the government understand the benefits of  frontier technologies necessary for informed decision-making.

Around 100 participants including 40 members of Parliament who are the Chairpersons and members of 3 standing committees like Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and Labor and Employment attended.

For more information on the seminar and other news on biotechnology in Bangladesh,  contact Dr.  KM Nasiruddin at nasirbiotech@yahoo.com