Muhammad Musa, Ph.D. Senior Program Specialist (Crops) SAARC Agriculture Centre, Dhaka Bangladesh

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1 Agriculture Centre SAARC Muhammad Musa, Ph.D. Senior Program Specialist (Crops), Dhaka Bangladesh

2 Challenges Food production situation in South Asia population vis-à-vis production levels Poverty (37%) and Undernourishment (33%) Pressure on food increasing Climate change emergence of new pest-diseases, aggressiveness and damage by pest-diseases, impacts of weather variability. Need for crop varieties with multiple resistance and higher yields Technological advancement Biotechnology Genetic engineering a versatile tool for introducing new traits and to break yield barriers Cautious move by all countries.

3 Agriculture Centre SAARC Genetically Modified (GM) food GM foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally. The role of genetic modification (GM) technology in Asian agriculture remains unclear and individual countries have adopted different approaches to tackle the sensitive subject. UN-WFP: There have not been detrimental effects to human health from GM organisms. Because these organisms are so diverse, everything has to be judged on a case-by-case basis. WHO: GM foods currently available in the international market have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. GM technology is the future of agriculture, without compromising the safety concerns.

4 Some facts about GM foods What How are the potential main issues risks of to concern human for health human Why Are are GM foods safe? health? determined? produced? initial The safety objective assessment for developing of GM plants foods based generally on GM organisms investigates: GM foods is to currently improve available crop protection. on the international market Insect Direct resistance have health passed effects is achieved risk Out (toxicity), assessments by incorporating andgene are not likely into the to present food plant risks for crossing toxin production from the bacterium Tendencies Bacillus to provoke for human thuringiensis allergic health. (BT). reaction This toxin is currently (allergenicity); used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture Specific components and Gene is safe for thought human consumption. to have nutritional Virus or toxic resistance properties; transfer is achieved through the introduction of a gene from certain viruses which cause disease in Stability of the inserted gene; plants. Allergenicity Herbicide Nutritional tolerance effects is associated achieved through with genetic the introduction modification; of a and gene from a bacterium conveying resistance Any unintended to some herbicides. effects which could result from the gene insertion.

5 Agriculture Centre SAARC Two International Regulatory Systems 1 The Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) is the joint FAO/WHO body responsible for compiling the standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations that constitute the Codex Alimentarius: the international food code. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), an environmental treaty legally binding for its Parties, regulates transboundary movements of living modified organisms (LMOs). 2

6 Regional Expert Consultation Meeting Prospects, Needs, Benefits and Risk Assessment of Agriculture Related Genetically Modified Products in SAARC Countries Date: 6-7 December 2013 Venue: Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), Dhaka Jointly Organized by: (SAC), Dhaka and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Gazipur

7 Agriculture Centre SAARC Objectives of the Program Prepare a stocktaking of the available resources in the genetic modification sector in our region, Create the awareness for obtaining the necessary skills Utilize the most modern advancements of GM products in agriculture towards achieving food security in the SAARC region.

8 Agriculture Centre SAARC Country Status Reports Focal Point Experts (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) Four Local Professionals (Bangladesh) Participants 40 professionals from SAARC countries and 15 local organizations participated in this consultation meeting and collectively generated a variety of recommendations which can be implemented by member countries.

9 Act and Institution related to GMO Country Act Ministry Authority Bangladesh Bio-safety Rules of Bangladesh, 2012; Guidelines for safety assessment of foods derived from GE plants, Ministry of Environment and Forests Bhutan Bio-safety Bill of Bhutan, 2013 Ministry of Agriculture and Forests India Environmental protection Act, 1986 (Guidelines for research trials and commercial applications on biotechnological products, 1990 and Guidelines for research in transgenic plants, 1988) Ministry of Environment and Forests National Committee on Bio-safety Bhutan Agriculture Food and Regulatory Authority Department of Biotechnology and Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR)

10 Act and Institution related to GMO Country Act Ministry Authority Nepal National Seed Act, 2000 (No specific Act) Pakistan Bio-Safety Rules, 2005 Sri Lanka National Biotechnology Policy, 2009 Ministry of Agriculture Development Ministry of Environment Ministry of Agriculture Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment Ministry of Environment Department of Agriculture

11 Agriculture Centre SAARC GM crops in SAARC Countries Bt-Brinjal indigenous Cotton was Bt was cotton released released (insect-resistant India on th ) varieties for October commercial were Bangladesh cultivation. released in has become the first South Asian country to approve commercial cultivation of a genetically modified food India Subsequently, crop. is now the grown largest over cultivator 8,000 acres of Bt during Cotton, the jumping from Bangladesh's 2005/ ,000 season hectares National with to encouraging Committee 12,600,000 on results. hectares Biosafety (NBC) approved cultivation of four indigenous varieties of bt-brinjal Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka Research Released

12 Some of the GM-crops in pipeline (Research) Cotton, cotton, wheat, brinjal, sugarcane, castor, potato, groundnut,mustar maize, tomato, d, papaya,potato, rice rice, rubber, sugarcane,wheat and tomato Brinjal, potato, Chilli, tomato, onion, rice, maize, jute and legume, cucurbits, kenaf, groundnut, potato, lentil rice, and plantation chickpea, crops, - Limited to chrysanthemum genetic finger printing

13 Prospects of GM Crops in SAARC Countries Bangladesh Adequate legislation and capacity development Bhutan India Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka Cold and drought tolerant varieties, multiple resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses Increase yield levels and multiple resistance in rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, soybean, chickpea, much bean, pigeon pea, and groundnut Crop yield increase Biosafety evaluation of developed transgenic plants, gene pyramiding, tissue specific promoter Gene pyramiding, resistance breeding, structural and functional genome analysis

14 Recommendations A: Research and Development issue 1. Identification and isolation of trait specific genes, for biotic and abiotic stress tolerance using genomics and bioinformatics. 2. Establishment of common biochemical and risks assesment methodology. 3. Enhancement of research and collaboration in virus fungus and bacterial resistance. Virus - mungbean, tomato, chilli Fungal - Late blight potato, Brassica, lentil, chickpea, Jute, chilli, wheat- Rust Bacterial - Wilt, eggplant, tomato Insect: Stem borer-rice, maize borer, pod borer-bean, aphids, whiteflies, mites-jute, chilli, fruitfly-cucurbits

15 Recommendations A: Research and Development issue 4. Abiotic stress Salinity - Rice and Jute Heat - Wheat and Rice Cold - Rice and Maize Drought - Maize, Wheat and Jute Submergence - Rice Waterlogging Maize and Jute 5. Development of research facilities in each member country. 6. Sharing of technologies among the SAARC member countries. 7. Exchange of expertise among the countreies in molecular breeding, MAS and Transformations.

16 Recommendations A: Research and Development issue 8. Regional/ International cooperation. 9. Establishment of network sharing research, information and germplasm. 10. Establishment of accredited risk assesment centre.

17 Recommendations B: Extension and Marketing Issues 1. Capacity Building Institutional capacity building for adoption of tools and techniques of modern biotechnology Extension agencies Training of Trainers (ToT) Farmers training through FFS( Farmers Field School) 2. Creation of Awareness Policy and decision makers, growers, consumers and media about the GMO and products

18 Recommendations B: Extension and Marketing Issues 3. Marketing Proper monitoring, evaluation and labeling of GMO and products Regional collaboration among SAARC member countries for marketing system of GMO and products Strengthening/creation of Research-extensionfarmers-consumers linkages

19 Recommendations C: Policy Issues 1. SAARC countries may encourage research and commercialization of GM crops including cereals, horticultural crops, legumes, fibre and oilseed crops to ensure food security, nutritional enhancement and improvement of health. Members who don t have Biotech Research Centre may be encouraged to establish centre of excellence in Biotechnology.

20 Recommendations C: Policy Issues 2. Public awareness among all stakeholders e.g., policy makers, NGOs, Media etc. Inclusion of farmers, farmer bodies and end-users through education and campaign on usefulness of GM technology. 3. Uniform GMO policy to facilitate GMO research and sharing of release GM crop varieties for testing and adoption. Networking among Biotech scientists in member countries through meetings and visits.

21 Recommendations C: Policy Issues 4. Existing bio-safety rules and regulation in member countries should be documented by SAC and it may be posted SAC website. 5. Provision for capacity building of biotech scientist in the member countries. 6. Donor agencies may be approached for GM crop research in SAARC member countries e.g., ABSPII project covered only Bangladesh and India. Other member states including Sri Lanka Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal have shown interest in requesting funding agencies for their inclusion in on-going or future programs.

22 Recommendations C: Policy Issues 7. Stock taking of regional bio-diversity on crops, livestock, DNA sequencing and gene mapping may be started. 8. Regional accredited laboratory may be initiated if required.

23 Agriculture Centre SAARC Book Prospects, Needs, Benefits and Risk Assessment of Agriculture Related Genetically Modified Products in SAARC Countries can be downloaded ( For hard copy, please write to Director,, BARC Complex, Farmgate, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh. Tel: ; Fax:

24 Agriculture Centre SAARC Thank You