Monday, April 22, 2024

Biotechnology can help boost food production: Matia

Agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, on Saturday, said biotechnology can play a key role in increasing agricultural production and address environmental concerns. “In the era of globalisation, biotechnology can play an important role in increasing crop productivity. It has great potential to enhance agricultural production and in the development of genetically modified crops,” she said. Matia made the observation at the inaugural ceremony of the two-day international conference on biotechnology, organised by Committee of Action for Research, Extension and Services (CARES), in collaboration with Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS), Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), and Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), at a city hotel. “Biotechnology can offer opportunities to solve agricultural problems and ensure food security, where traditional techniques have limitations,” the minister said.
Matia also said that though Bangladesh has increased crop productions over the last 42 years, it has also faced challenges, including natural disaster due to climate change. “We have 8.2 million hectare of cultivable lands for crop production, but it is decreasing steadily, due to urban growth and land degradation,” she said. “There is an urgent need to boost agricultural research, to address crop productivity, by redesigning crop pattern,” she added.
Biotechnology as a modern tool can help sustainable development in livestock, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, as well as food and pharmaceutical industries, she observed.
She, however, said that though biotechnology research in the country has a long way to go. “Though we have limited resources, we need more efforts to solve social problems on sustainable basis,” she said.
She expressed hope that the seminar would highlight opportunities related to the development of agricultural biotechnology and help understand the benefits of biotechnology through deliberations and discussions.
Among others, Dr Atiur Rahman, governor, Bangladesh Bank, Prof. Anwar Huq, Pathogen Research Institute, University of Maryland & President of ASBM, Prof. Mesbauddin Ahmed, secretary of BAS, Prof. Mohammad Rafiqul Huq, vice-chancellor of BAU, Dr Tissa Vitahrana, senior minister for science and technology, government of Sri Lanka, professor Ahmed Shamsul Islam and professor M. Shamser Ali, vice chairman of CARES, spoke on the occasion. While Prof. KMS Aziz, secretary-general of CARES, delivered the vote of thanks.
Dr Atiur Rahman said biotechnology has the potential to boost food security, by developing new bio-pesticides, new drought and saline resistant food crops. “It’s a huge potential area where both the government and private sector can invest for sustainable economic growth,” he added. Dr Rahman also urged the private sector to invest in this area, under corporate social responsibility.
About biotechnology research, he said, “Biotechnology is also capable of developing new preventive and curative pharmaceutical products.”
Prof. Mohammad Rafiqul Huq said the increasing world population is putting additional pressure on food, nutrition, healthcare and environment. “However, biotechnology can enhance food production, improve health quality, and manage environment,” he added. Prof. Rafiqul also suggested national biological policy to harvest full benefit of biotechnology, and urged the government to implement it.
He also called upon the donor agency, private sectors and NGOs to fund in the biotechnology research in Bangladesh.
Tissa Vitahrana said the South Asian region has been facing acute poverty and rapid, effective and socio-economic development in the region is of paramount importance.
“Though we have tremendous human and agricultural resources, we could not come out of the colonial mindset. We still export raw materials. But we need advanced technologies to utilise the raw materials and export finished goods,” he observed.
He also said that the conference would help create a link among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to work together in biotechnology.
Prof M. Shamser Ali said that the field of biotechnology needs special attention from both public and private sector, for the development of the country. “Biotechnology has become a common ground for research. It has great economic importance for the country’s development. We need collaboration here,” he said. The theme this year is “Application of Bio-technology in addressing the development needs of Bangladesh”.
Distinguished Professor Rita R Colwell from Maryland University of the US, delivered the keynote speech at the conference.
Over 90 scientists and experts from the US, Canada, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal and Bangladesh will present findings of their research and ideas in seven scientific sessions. About 250 participants, from home and abroad, are attending the conference.
The conference is covering different areas like agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, animal and husbandry, biomedical and pharmaceutical, nutrition and food science, environment and climate change issues and economic resources and economic impact of research on life sciences.

-With The Independent input

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more