Friday, May 27, 2016

ISAAA Brief 51 Launched in Beijing; Media Conferences Held in Six Countries

ISAAA has released the 20th Brief in its global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops in Beijing, China on April 13, 2016. Brief 51, 20th Anniversary (1996 to 2015) of the Global Commercialization of Biotech Crops and Biotech Crops Highlights in 2015, authored by ISAAA Founder and Emeritus Chair, Clive James.

Brief 51 companion documents include the Executive Summary, Top Ten Facts about Biotech Crops and a volume of Invitational Essays (Progress and Promise), which are designed to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the commercialization of biotech crops during the twenty-year period, 1996 to 2015 as well as the 2015 highlights.

Year after year, ISAAA prepares the global status 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 2015 Global Status Report documents the global database on the adoption and distribution of biotech crops in the world in 2015, when ~18 million farmers from 28 countries planted 179.7 million hectares of biotech crops. Below are summaries of the country launches held for the 2015 Global Status Report.


Brief 51 was launched in the ISAAA Press Conference in China World Hotel Beijing on April 13, 2016, attended by 30 representatives of major media outlets (print, online, and TV broadcast). Dr. Paul S. Teng, ISAAA Chair, presented the Highlights of the Report prepared by Dr. James. ISAAA Global Coordinator Dr. Randy A. Hautea discussed the Overview of Biotech Crops in Asia with emphasis on biotech crop planting and regulatory milestones in India, China, Pakistan, Myanmar, Philippines, Australia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, which has commercialized biotech maize for the first time in 2015.
Dr. Zhang Chun-Yi, Dr. Paul S. Teng, Dr. Randy A. Hautea, Mr. Hernan Viola, and Dr. Dafang Huang at the media seminar in Beijing.

Mr. Hernan Viola, the Agro-Industrial Attaché of the Embassy of Argentina in China, presented an overview of biotech crops and the benefits they generated in Argentina. Dr. Zhang Chun-Yi, Deputy Director General of the Biotechnology Research Institute, CAAS and Prof. Dafang Huang, patron of ISAAA, gave the opening and closing remarks, respectively.

A seminar was conducted on April 14 at the Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) where Dr. Gao Caixia of the Institute of Genetics and Biology, CAS, made a timely presentation on Genome Editing: Progress and Perspectives.  Mr. Mark Petry of the USDA FAS gave a presentation on Reconsideration of New Breeding Technology and Biotech Regulation in the US. Some 150 members of the academe, government regulators, industry, media, students and researchers attended the seminar which was co-organized by CAAS, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the ISAAA China BIC.


Brief 51 was presented at a media seminar held at the Sofitel Plaza Hotel in Hanoi on April 15. The seminar was co-organized by the Agricultural Genetics Institute (AGI) led by Dr. Le Huy Ham. Drs. Teng and Hautea were joined by Dr. Mahaletchumy Arujanan, executive director of the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Center (MABIC), who presented the Overview of New Breeding Technologies and Current Status. Around 100 attendees composed of researchers, policy makers, regulators, industry representatives, and media practitioners attended the event, and received copies of Brief 51 materials that were distributed during the seminar.

Mr. Bhagirath Choudhary

The seminar in Jakarta was held in the Ministry of Agriculture on April 19. Dr. Arujanan presented the Highlights of Brief 51, and also made a presentation on new breeding technologies. Mr. Bhagirath Choudhary, director of the South Asia Biotechnology Center based in India presented the Overview of Biotech Crop Adoption in Asia. 

The event was co-organized by ISAAA and IndoBIC, with around 100 members of the academe, media practitioners, and policy makers, including regulators and industry representatives in attendance. Copies of Brief 51 materials were distributed at the close of the seminar.


The ISAAA AfriCenter in collaboration with Africa Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) and the Association Nationale des Entreprises Semencières du Burkina Faso (ANES-BF), a local seed trade association, launched the Brief 51 in Burkina Faso on April 20, 2016. The event was attended by 40 participants that included seed traders, media representatives, government regulators, and scientists. Hon. Henri Koubizara, a member of the parliamentary commission on economic development, environment and climate change was the guest of honor. Dr. Margaret Karembu presented the ISAAA report highlighting the role of seed traders in the adoption and commercialization of GM crops. Local scientists and regulators shared the status of GM crop research and regulation in Burkina Faso, and the West Africa region at large.
Hon. Henri Koubizara and Dr. Margaret Karembu at the launch in Burkina Faso.


A media conference organized by ISAAA and SEARCA BIC for Philippine journalists and stakeholders was held at Acacia Hotel Manila on April 29. Dr. Teng presented the ISAAA report for 2015. Dr. Gour Pada Das, Country Coordinator of the Feed the Future Bangladesh, and Dr. ASM Mahbubur Rahman Khan, Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), discussed the highlights of the Bt brinjal project and commercialization experience, respectively. Over 50 representatives from media, academe, research, and private companies attended the event.
Drs. G.P. Das and ASM Mahbubur Rahman Khan (center) at the Manila launch.


In Bangladesh, the Honorable Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury inaugurated the seminar on 20th Anniversary of the Global Commercialization of Biotech Crops and Biotech Crop Highlights in 2015 at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh on May 12.
Hon. Minister for Agriculture Matia Chowdhury (center) at the Brief 51 launch in Dhaka.

Resource persons in the seminar included Drs. Hautea and Arujanan, and Mr. Choudhary. Dr. G.P. Das facilitated the seminar which was attended by agriculture officials and members of the scientific community in Bangladesh.  During the seminar, Minister Chowdhury emphasized the need for scientific innovations nd collaborations to improve food production and poverty alleviation in Bangladesh. She also stated that the government is pro-active in adopting biotech innovations for introducing improved varieties to their farmers. The seminar was jointly organized by BARI, BARC, and ISAAA.

More information about ISAAA Brief 51 20th Anniversary (1996 to 2015) of the Global Commercialization of Biotech Crops and Biotech Crops Highlights in 2015 are available at the ISAAA website:

Brief 51 companion documents are available for download from the same link.

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