Recognizing the importance of integrating research, effective communication, and science-based regulatory frameworks in harnessing the full potential of agribiotechnology to fuel sustainable agricultural development, SEARCA partnered with the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA) Southeast Asia, Malaysian Biotechnology Information Center (MABIC), and Monash University in organizing the Asian Short Course on Agribiotechnology, Biotechnology Regulation, and Communication (ASCA). It will run from December 2-6, 2019 in the Philippines.
Now on its second year, this program aims to enable participants to have a better understanding of the entire value chain of living modified organisms (LMOs), as well as national and international legal instruments regarding LMOs. It also aims to discuss effective communication of agribiotechnology and biosafety regulation.
In his opening message, SEARCA Director and National Academician Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, highlighted the Center's important role in advancing science-based innovations to address poverty and food security. "We stand behind products of agribiotechnology that increase agricultural productivity to feed a growing population in the midst of dwindling natural resources and erratic changes in climate," Dr. Gregorio says. "Due attention must be given to our resource-poor farmers by providing them access to information, best practices, and new technologies that gives them a fighting chance to cope up with the many challenges they face and to open up better opportunities for them and their families so that they can have better quality lives," he adds.
According to ISAAA Global Coordinator Dr. Mahaletchumy Arujanan, "It is important that Asia has institutional memory on international agribiotechnology regulatory framework as the field is very complicated and turnover among policymakers and regulators is high. ISAAA and its partners aim to develop Asia's institutional memory so that capacity building this in area could be sustained and scaled up".
"Together with various international and local partners, ISAAA Southeast Asia developed a hands-on, experiential training program on agribiotechnology, exercises on food/feed safety assessment, and tips on strategic communication, and risk management and communication," says Dr. Rhodora Aldemita, ISAAA Southeast Asia Coordinator. "We are very pleased that we were able to gather 25 participants from both public and private sectors of eight countries: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam," she adds.