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7-Business: Argentinean biotech plan to boost agricultural exports

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Argentinean biotech plan to boost agricultural exports
SOURCE: SciDev.Net, Uk, by Martín De Ambrosio
DATE:   1 Jul 2005

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Argentinean biotech plan to boost agricultural exports
Brazil, Argentina, and China, are the leading soya bean producers after
the United States

[BUENOS AIRES] Argentina has launched a ten-year plan to increase the
value of its agricultural exports through biotechnology.

Some 150 scientists from research institutions and private companies
contributed to the plan, which finance minister Roberto Lavagna signed
into action on 24 May.

Under the plan -- the first of its kind in the country -- Argentina will
develop genetically modified (GM) crops and livestock, and build stronger
links between researchers and the agricultural sector.

Argentina already grows GM soybeans, and has genetically modified cows to
produce milk containing human growth hormone. The plan will support
research and development in such areas, including the use of GM crops to
produce drugs.

Further research will focus on developing biological alternatives to
chemical fungicides.

Tax-breaks and loans will be introduced to encourage private companies to
conduct biotechnology research. Small and medium-sized companies are
expected to gain most from these initiatives.

According to Argentina's Biotechnology Office, the plan will benefit the
general public and the environment by creating job opportunities and
producing cost-effective, environmentally sound technologies.

The resolution signed by Lavagna states that biotechnological development
is essential because of Argentina's "limited resources, and qualitative
and quantitative increases in the international demand for exports of
primary products".

Moreover, according to Lavagna, "biotechnology might turn out to be the
main source of technological solutions to face that challenge".

Daniel Salamone of Bio Sidus, the company that produced Argentina's first
cloned cow in 2002, says the plan will integrate scattered initiatives
and "encourage other private investments" in biotechnology.

He believes the plan will give Argentinean agricultural productivity a
big boost.


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