Friday, March 13, 2015

Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops 2014 Launched in Beijing; Media Conferences Held in Asian Countries

Since 1996, during the first year of commercialization of biotech crops, ISAAA has released the annual “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops” (ISAAA Brief No. 49), a Report that documents the latest information on the global status of commercially approved biotech crops. Year after year, ISAAA prepares the Report and supports its free distribution to developing countries to provide information and knowledge to the scientific community and facilitate a more informed and transparent discussion regarding the potential role of biotech crops in contributing to global food, feed, fiber, and fuel security, and a more sustainable agriculture.

The 2014 Global Status Report is the 19th Brief in the series, and documents the global database on the adoption and distribution of biotech crops in the world in 2014, when 18 million farmers from 28 countries planted 181.5 million hectares of biotech crops. Below are summaries of the country launches held for the 2014 Global Status Report.


Brief 49 was launched at the China World Hotel in Beijing, China on January 28, 2015, with 35 media representatives. A seminar where Dr. Clive James presented the global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops in 2014 was held at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) on January 29, and co-organized by CAAS, ISAAA, China BIC, and five professional societies in China. The seminar was attended by 200 stakeholders from the government, academe, research institutes, media agencies, and private companies. Guests during the seminar include Dr. Chen Zhangliang, Vice President of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), Dr. Paul Teng, and Dr. Randy Hautea.
Dr. James presenting the global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops during the seminar in Beijing, China.


In Seoul, the media seminar for Brief 49 was held at The Plaza Hotel on January 30. It was attended by more than 60 people from the government, academe, and private companies. Dr. James presented the global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops in 2014. The seminar was co-organized by Dr. Soo-Chul Park, director of the National Center for GM Crops (NCGC) of the Next-Generation BioGreen21 Program in RDA, South Korea; and Dr. Tae-San Kim, director of CropLife Asia.

Dr. Park emphasized the need for the development of GM crops in Korea and mentioned 4 events (drought tolerant rice, herbicide-resistant/male sterility grass, virus resistant red pepper) that are under risk assessment.
More than 60 people from the government, academe, and private companies attended the seminar in Seoul.


The seminar and media engagement in Tokyo were facilitated by Dr. Fusao Tomita, the Nippon BIC director and the Council for Biotechnology Information in Japan (CBIJ) currently headed by Dr. Masahiro Suzuki. The event was held at Belle Salle Yaesu on February 2 and gathered more than 100 participants composed of media, policy makers, and the academe, an impossible feat on a Monday in Japan. Dr. Suzuki opened the seminar and provided information on the activities of CBIJ, followed by the presentations of Dr. James and Dr. Hautea. Dr. Tomita presented the current status and views of GM crops in Japan. A short meeting with the media was also held immediately after the seminar.
Dr. James at the media seminar in Tokyo.


Brief 49 was presented at a conference held at the Sofitel Hotel in Hanoi, on February 3. Hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and AgBiotech Vietnam, in cooperation with ISAAA, the conference was attended by more than 100 regulators and scientists from science, environment and agriculture ministries, members of the academe and research institutes, representatives of businesses, associations and media agencies.

Dr. James presented the global status of biotech/GM crops. Dr. Hautea discussed the application and benefits of biotech corn in the Philippines, while Dr. Mahaletchumy Arujanan, Executive Director of Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC) highlighted the role of the media in providing correct and objective information about biotech crops against the misconception of this technology.

Heads of ministries graced the occasion, including Dr. Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy,  General Director of Department of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; and Prof. Dr. Trinh Khac Quang, Director of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Discussions on the Q and A revolved around management of biotech seeds after commercialization and effective methods of communication on biotech crops to the public.
Dr. James is joined by Dr. Le Huy Ham (left) and Dr. Vo Tung Xuan (right) during the seminar in Hanoi.  


Thailand’s Biosafety and Biotechnology Information Center (BBIC) Director Dr. Supat Attathom and Biotechnology Alliance Association (BAA) head Dr. Nipon Lamsupasit led the seminar in Bangkok held in Century Park Hotel on February 4. 119 participants composed of media, policy makers, the academe, and the industry attended the seminar. Simultaneous translation during the seminar was supported by BAA.

The seminar which featured presentations from Drs. James, Hautea, and Arujanan  was opened by Prof. Dr. Yongyuth Yuthawong, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, who also met with the ISAAA team at breakfast. The country has permitted field trials of GM crops and is looking forward to commercialization. Former agriculture minister Thira Sutabutra also attended the seminar.
Dr. Hautea and Dr. James is joined by Dr. Arujanan in Bangkok.


Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI), the National Economic and Social Advisory Council (NESAC) co-organized the ISAAA seminars held in Summer Park View Hotel, Yangon on February 5; and at Thingaha Hotel, Nay Pyi Taw on February 6.

At the Yangon media conference, Dr. Sein Hla Bo, Presidential Economic Advisor to the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar chaired the seminar. More than 30 media representatives and members of the academe in Yangon attended the briefings by Dr. James and Mr. Bhagirath Choudhary, ISAAA Director for Strategic Initiatives.

The Nay Pyi Taw seminar was attended by more than 50 government representatives, policy makers, members of the academe, and media representatives. Dr. Ye Tint Htun, Director General of Department of Agriculture presided over the seminar with presentations from Dr. James, Mr. Choudhary, as well as from Dr. Khin Thida Myint, professor at Yezin Agricultural University who discussed the progress of GM crops in Myanmar, and the possibility of developing collaborative project on other crops important to food security in Myanmar. Prof. Daw Than Than Nu of the Department of Industrial Crops Development shared the achievement of Bt cotton and the development of new promising Bt cotton variety Ngwe Chi-9, to be released in the near future. It was notable that Dr. Ye Tint Htun, Director General of Department of Agricultural Research of the MOAI invited ISAAA to help them access new biotechnologies and facilitate technology transfer to Myanmar.
Dr. James (center) and Mr. Choudhary (second from left) at the seminar in Yangon.


Dr. James was joined by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury who gave a message in the seminar in Dhaka held at the Bangladesh Agricultural Council (BARC) on February 8.

The event was co-organized by Bangladesh Biotechnology Information Center (BdBIC) Director Prof. Dr. Khondoker Nasiruddin and ISAAA in partnership with BARC and ABSP II (Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II). Dr. James and Mr. Choudhary were joined in the forum by Dr. Md Rafiqual Islam Modal, Director General of BARI; Prof. Dr. Md Shahidur Rashid Bhuiyan, Pro VC of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University; Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Executive Chairman BARC; Prof. Md Shadat Ullah, VC of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University and Mr. Md Eunusur Rahman, Secretary of Agriculture who each gave short message during the program. Around 450 participants from the scientific community, agricultural universities, different government departments, industry, seven media outlets who recorded the event, and a dozen print and online media attended the seminar.
Hon. Minister for Agriculture Matia Chowdhury was chief guest during the launch in Dhaka.


The seminar in Indonesia was attended by 150 stakeholders consisting of scientists, academicians, policy makers, farmers, journalists, and entrepreneurs. It was held on February 11, 2015. Dr. James shared the recent global developments in biotechnology. It was organized by the Indonesian Biotechnology Information Center (IndoBIC), ISAAA, Ministry of Agriculture, and National Outstanding Farmers Association (NOFA), and supported by the Indonesian Society for Agricultural Biotechnology (PBPI), CropLife Indonesia, and SEAMEO BIOTROP.

Dr. James also highlighted a significant development in biotechnology in Asia, saying that Vietnam and Indonesia are close to the commercialization of biotech crops, which is expected to begin in 2015. Dr. Ir. Hasil Sembiring, General Director of Food Crops of the Ministry of Agriculture represented the Minister to deliver the opening remarks on that event.
Speakers and moderator of the seminar in Jakarta (left to right): Prof. Agus Pakpahan, Dr. Hautea, Dr. Teng, Dr. James, and Ms. Veronica Moniaga.


The Manila launch of Brief 49 highlighted the continued expansion of biotech corn in the country. A media conference, co-organized with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), was held on February 27, at the InterContinental Manila Hotel in Makati City

Speakers at the conference include ISAAA Board Chair Dr. Paul S. Teng; Dr. Hautea; ISAAA Senior Program Officer Dr. Rhodora R. Aldemita who presented the global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops in 2014; and Bukidnon farmer Mr. Edgar Talasan, who expressed his eagerness to plant an upcoming biotech crop, Bt eggplant. Representatives from government offices, scientists, and members of the media attended the seminar.
ISAAA Senior Program Officer Dr. Rhodora R. Aldemita presented the global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops in 2014 during the seminar in Manila.

More information about ISAAA's Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2014 are available at ISAAA website: Various information resources, including the Executive Summary, Top Ten Facts about Biotech/GM Crops in 2014, Powerpoint slides, infographics, and videos are all available for download from the same link.

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