GENET archive


9-Misc: On biotech activities in Ethiopia and Kenya

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Ethiopia Prepares Draft Agricultural Biotechnology
SOURCE: Ethiopian News Agency
DATE:   6 Jul 2004

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Ethiopia Prepares Draft Agricultural Biotechnology

A draft agricultural biotechnology document has been prepared as
biotechnology plays an important role in the agricultural development of
a nation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD).
Agriculture and Rural Development State Minister, Belay Ejigu said the
ministry has prepared the document for biotechnology helps to bridge the
gap in competition through inducing the essential challenges in the
agricultural production. The minister made the statement here on Tuesday
while opening a three-day workshop on Capacity building in agricultural
biotechnology for improved productivity and livelihood in Ethiopia. Belay
said the government of Ethiopia is committed to support and promote
biotechnology capacity building endeavors as it helps to take Ethiopia
out of the vicious circle of poverty. The state minister said
participants of the workshop are expected to identify and appreciate the
potentials and limitations of agricultural biotechnology development of
the country, assess and enrich draft agricultural biotechnology proposal.
Experts in the agriculture sector are required to formulate priority
interventions and potential research and development projects bases on
the existing realities of the country, Belay said. Belay said the
adoption of this (agricultural biotech) technology obviously lies on the
shoulder of the national research and extension system. The workshop
would discuss, among others, biotechnology policies and strategy of
Ethiopia, bio-safety regime for the development of biotechnologies, the
role of higher learning institutions for capacity building in
agricultural biotechnology, and share experiences on agricultural biotech
research and development. The workshop attracted over 80 professionals
drawn from the government offices, donor agencies, and higher learning

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Biosciences boost for eastern and central Africa
SOURCE: SciDev.Net, by Ochieng' Ogodo
DATE:   16 Jul 2004

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Biosciences boost for eastern and central Africa

[NAIROBI] A 'biosciences facility for eastern and central Africa', one of
four projected 'centres of excellence' in Africa, will begin its research
activities on 1 November 2004. The institute, located in Nairobi, will
focus on agricultural production and should give a boost to the
application of science and technology to development in Africa.

The announcement was made at a meeting of the project's implementing
group in Nairobi last week. Gabrielle Persley, director and chair of the
Doyle Foundation, which has supported the initiative, told SciDev.Net
that she expects the 12 participating countries to have signed the
charter -- defining the facility's objectives and operating principles --
by 31 October.

The facility is one of a continent-wide network of scientific 'centres of
excellence' being established by the New Partnership for African
Development (NEPAD) as part of its efforts to revitalise science across
Africa. It will focus on priority problems in agricultural production as
identified by national governments and regional organisations.

According to Norah Olembo, a lecturer at Nairobi University, researchers
will use the new facilities to develop nutrient-rich plants that are
resistant to stress and disease, and to create vaccines against livestock

Persley says, "The 'weakest link' for many research institutions in
Africa -- the failure to move from discovery to delivery -- will be a thing
of the past."

She says the bioscience facility will establish "downstream" links --
reaching out to the farmers who most need to be made aware of research

The research facility will be located at the International Livestock
Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi. From there, it will interact with
other institutions in Kenya and internationally. It will be an
independent body with its own secretariat, of which ILRI will be a member.

Ed Rege, ILRI's director of biotechnology told last week's meeting that
although "Africa has some top notch scientists" they are constrained by a
lack of facilities.

Persley reported that a Can$4 million (US$3 million) grant from the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has financed the design
of a new laboratory, the purchase of equipment, and an environmental
impact assessment (EIA). Canada will provide a further Can$26 million
(US$19.6 million) for the project's second phase, subject to the
development of a business plan and the results of the EIA report.

The biosciences facility will serve Burundi, Democratic Republic of
Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Somalia,
Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. NEPAD also intends to establish similar
centres of scientific excellence in southern, western and northern
Africa, and is currently researching the best-suited locations for their


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