Biotechnology upgrades agriculture

10:56 | 20/08/2015 Science - Technology

(VEN) - Over the last decade implementing a program promoting the application of biotechnology in agriculture and fisheries (2004-2014), 214 scientific and technological tasks costing VND552 billion have been developed. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said biotechnology was expected to be a key factor in enhancing the competitiveness of Vietnamese agricultural products in the coming period.

Biotechnology upgrades agriculture

According to Nguyen Thanh Thuy, Director of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), among these 214 tasks, 130 have been accepted to be applied in production. The most vital task is aimed at promoting the use of molecular markers in the selection of aromatic, insect-resistant rice varieties and drought-tolerant corn hybrids. In the fishery sector, molecular markers have been used to select fast-growing species of tra fish for commercial breeding. Black tiger shrimp and white-leg shrimp have been successfully bred in many geographical areas.

Over the last decades, some genetically-modified maize varieties have been cultivated, marking a milestone by helping Vietnamese farmers access advanced international technological and cultivation solutions. The cultivation of genetically modified maize varieties is expected to contribute to boosting crop restructuring in the current period as well as to meet the growing demand for materials for animal feed production.

According to Nguyen Thanh Thuy, however, the biotechnology promotion program has been implemented mostly in the field of cultivation; no vaccines have been created; scientific and technological tasks were assigned mostly to public organizations, and the participation of businesses remains limited; research projects were announced mostly in Vietnam and none were published in magazines of international reputation.

Nong Van Hai, scientist from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, said the links between scientific organizations and businesses were crucial to promoting the application of biotechnology but in fact, these links remained loose.

Thai Binh Seed Joint Stock Corporation General Director Tran Manh Bao said businesses played an important role in promoting the application of biotechnology in production. On their side, businesses need to be aware of the necessity of applying new technologies and invest in research and development activities to create quality products under Vietnamese brands. In fact, however, the awareness of most businesses about science and technology and biotechnology in particular remains limited; the transfer of research results to businesses remains difficult due to a lack of suitable mechanisms. Therefore, the state needs to assist businesses in human resource training and put in place suitable mechanisms to facilitate the transfer of research results.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat:

To make Vietnamese agricultural products capable to withstand competition in the international market, it is necessary to raise their technological content. Biotechnology is expected to be the key to this problem. Open mechanisms need to be put in place to promote business participation in research projects.


Nguyen Hanh