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Crop Biotech Update

GM Crops, a Must Have in Indonesia to Mitigate Climate Change

August 5, 2011

"Problems in climate change can also be addressed through genetically modified (GM) crops," said Dr. Julian Adams, a professor in the Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Asia Coordinator for the Program for Biosafety Systems. He gave this remark during a seminar entitled "Biology and Genetics of GMO", conducted in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 18, 2011. Indonesia, a developing country predicted to be affected immensely by climate uncertainties can benefit if it adopts GM crops, Adam added. Through the biotechnology approach, climate change can be slowed down using nitrogen use efficient (NUE) varieties since the synthesis and use of nitrogenous fertilizers is one of the principal causes of greenhouse gases. In addition, nitrogen is converted to nitrous oxide which is 30 – 300 times worse that carbon dioxide.

In the same forum, Dr. Roy Sparringa, the Indonesian Deputy Chairman for Food and Hazardous Substance Control of National Agency for Drug and Food Control,highlighted the need for Indonesia to support biotechnology and should not be affected by the regulation impasse. The government has issued several regulations on biotechnology which say that GM crops are safe for food and the environment. However, he admitted that there is a need to continuously work on regulations to allow planting of biotech crops. The seminar was organized by PBS with 35 participants from the academe and government.

For more information, email Dewi Suryani at dewisuryani@biotrop.org.