Archived Press Release
World Food Summit: five years later
International Biotech Collaboration
Says program will help poor countries reduce hunger
June 12, 2002
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a Collaborative Agricultural Biotechnology Initiative (CABIO) that, it says, will help developing countries access and manage biotechnology to reduce poverty and hunger.
In a June 11 press release issued at the World Food Summit: Five Years Later in Rome, USAID said CABIO is a comprehensive strategy for technology development, management and use.
The program will focus on conducting research and technology development, strengthening public institutions to use research and public outreach to promote biotechnology's safe use, and developing local private sectors to help integrate biotech into local food systems, USAID said.
The promise of biotechnology to end hunger and promote economic growth in developing countries has been one theme the United States is emphasizing at the summit, which concludes June 13.
CABIO includes three programs. The university-led Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project will form a collaboration of U.S. and international partners in biotechnology development and training. The Program for Biosafety Systems will help developing countries learn how to use biotechnology safely. Biofortified Crops to Combat Micronutrient Deficiency is an international collaboration focused on raising Vitamin A, iron and zinc content in crops.
The programs aim especially to spread agricultural technology through regions of Africa, USAID said.
Following is the text of the USAID press release:
COLLABORATIVE AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE
Mobilizing New Science and Technology to Reduce Poverty and Hunger
The Collaborative Agricultural Biotechnology Initiative (CABIO) will help developing countries ACCESS and manage the tools of modern biotechnology as part of an integrated drive to improve agricultural productivity, environmental sustainability and nutrition. Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), CABIO represents a comprehensive strategy for technology development, management, and use.
Research and technology development will address developing countries' crop and animal production needs with a better understanding of potential impacts on biodiversity and the environment.
Strengthening public institutions will use research, development of policy and regulatory frameworks, informed decision-making and public outreach to promote safe use of biotechnology.
Local private sector development will help to deliver new technology and integrate it into local agri-food systems.
USAIDS's agriculture strategy aims to stimulate economic growth and food security by increasing agricultural productivity. Developing and harnessing the tools of modern biotechnology is vital to this effort. At the same time, biotechnology can fight malnutrition by raising the level of Vitamin A, iron, and zinc in key food crops.
To realize the promise of this new science requires equipping developing countries to make informed decisions about the use of biotechnology. USAID is committed to helping developing countries build biosafety regulatory systems, funding research to examine potential impacts on biodiversity and involving local institutions in public outreach to address concerns about biotechnology.
Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSP) II: This U.S.-university led effort will bring together a consortium of partners from U.S. public and private sectors, international research institutions, and developing countries for collaborative technology development and scientific training. Broader institutional development will address managing IPR [intellectual property rights] and biosafety issues to support local use and commercialization.
Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS): This will create the infrastructure developing countries need to use biotechnology safely, building policies and capacity for science-based regulations and examining biosafety in the broader context of economics, environment, science, and trade issues.
Biofortified Crops to Combat Micronutrient Deficiency: This joint program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and U.S. and other international universities addresses micronutrient malnutrition by raising Vitamin A, iron and zinc content in crops. It employs traditional breeding and nutrition analysis and education, along with biotechnology tools.
Regional Approaches in Africa
These programs will take advantage of existing biotechnology infrastructure in spreading the technology more broadly and pooling limited technical capacity through regional collaboration that address:
Biosafety: In partnership with regional African organizations and networks, USAID already supports regional biosafety training in East/Central and Southern Africa. CABIO will expand these efforts to include West Africa.
Technology Development: USAID is assisting priority-setting programs in East/Central and West Africa that should lead to a regional research agenda for African subregional agricultural research organizations. In addition, to better engage the private sector, USAID is supporting the development of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) with the Rockefeller Foundation.
At the Country Level
In Africa: With the goal of building African centers of excellence in biotechnology, USAID is working with governments in six key African countries -- South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Mali and Uganda -- through its bilateral assistance programs.
In Asia and Near East: Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia are integrating biotechnology into USAID bilateral assistance programs.
In Latin America and the Caribbean: With a renewed vision of agriculture's role in building rural livelihoods and trade, USAID will develop new approaches taking advantage of existing biotech strengths in the region.
New Science and technology, new
trade opportunities for developing countries' farmers, promoting environmentally
sustainable management, and bridging the rural knowledge divide through outreach
and local adaptive research -- all these make up USAID's
vision of agriculture as an important driver of economic development, and all
are integral to CABIO. Biotechnology and the CABIO Initiative strongly reflect USAID's
revitalized commitment to agricultural development.
(Distributed by the Office of
International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.
Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)