Brazil Sees Biotecnology as Panacea for Economic and Ecological Ills

The biotechnology development policy, launched on Thursday, February 8, by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, should make Brazilian agribusiness products more competitive and safe.

According to a statement disclosed by Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, innovations are essential for Brazil to maintain and conquer new markets in the agricultural area.

According to the Ministry, the measures should, in the agricultural area, stimulate the development of biotechnological tools for the use of the Brazilian agro-biodiversity, which may enrich the national feeding habits and also those of other peoples.

The appreciation of traditional knowledge associated to the use and conservation of native genetic resources turned to agriculture and feeding, may also be made possible through biotechnology, according to the statement published by the Agriculture ministry.

Among the benefits the Ministry sees for agriculture together with biotechnology are the reduction of the impact of climate change on crops. Such modifications, which include global warming, are causes of great stress to crops, both for biological reasons, infestation of pests or diseases, and for non-biological reasons, which are great droughts, floods, and high or low temperatures.

Biotechnology may develop, according to the ministry, more resistant plants capable of facing adverse climate conditions and offering genetic resistance to pest attacks, or even developing organisms or substances that fight them, reducing the need for treatment with substances that may bring risk of contamination to the environment or leave residues in foods or primary products produced.

Biotechnology may also, according to the text disclosed by Ministry, help in the mitigation of environmental risk by making possible cultures that promote the expansion of forest cover, or the fixation of CO² and mitigate environmental damage related to global warming.

The ministry defined some strategic targets for agriculture in the environmental policy like plants resistant to plagues, diseases and climate problems, development of vaccines for the prevention of diseases in animals, biological techniques for animal and plant production, bio-industries for transformation of animal and vegetable by-products, among others.

The new policy will also permit the creation and improvement of high biological-security laboratory infrastructure and for the development of animal management and tracking systems.

Another thing that should also happen due to the new plan is the sponsoring of public-private partnerships with the objective of creating programs for the development and trade of strategic biotechnology products.

Anba

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