Improved agricultural products are planted in almost 88 million hectares in the Asia-Pacific region. The question of how the APEC member economies can better facilitate the advancement of biotechnology to promote food security and trade is central to the agenda of food security officials convening in Piura, Peru this week.
Food security officials from APEC economies are developing regulatory frameworks, facilitating technology transfer, encouraging investment, and strengthening public confidence regarding biotechnology.
“Supporting the larger goal of food security in the region means that we should be able to understand how the role of agricultural biotechnology can best respond to today’s research and food production challenges in the context of regional economic integration,” said the APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology Chair Alberto Maurer.
Officials are working to promote transparent, science-based, and functional regulation of biotechnology innovations. This work involves increasing the understanding of new agricultural and plant breeding techniques, promoting information-sharing activities, and enhancing scientific knowledge among policymakers and regulators.
“The forum is implementing projects that seek to share information on the establishment of biosafety regulations among member economies, understand best practices on innovative technologies, and increase cooperation among members to advance science and facilitate trade,” said Dr Maurer.
Gaining public confidence in agricultural biotechnology products and processes is also high on the region's policy agenda. Effective science communication is seen as key to making the public understand the benefits of biotechnology, which is tied to acceptance of these innovations as they are reviewed within government regulatory processes.
“APEC’s role is to make sure that we can help facilitate the movement, not just of these products but of information, that could help science come up with new ideas for innovations that benefit the region,” concluded Dr Maurer.Agricultural biotechnology is a revolutionary tool that is proven to have helped increase productivity in the agriculture sector, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and lessen the environmental impact of agricultural production.
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