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9-Misc: 'Biotechnology Ideal for Developing Countries'

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  'Biotechnology Ideal for Developing Countries'
SOURCE: The Herald, Zimbabwe
DATE:   03 Feb 2006

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'Biotechnology Ideal for Developing Countries'

BIOTECHNOLOGY is ideal for developing countries and can go a long way in
increasing food production, visiting United States academic Professor
Tom de Gregori has said.

Prof de Gregori was speaking at a one-day National Economic Consultative
Forum (NECF) seminar in Harare to discuss biotechnology.

"Biotechnology is quite useful for developing countries because there
are numerous benefits to be derived from it," he said.

The academic said in agriculture, different varieties of crops such as
maize, potatoes and beans were being produced through biotechnology and
those varieties had proved to be more nutritious besides boosting a high
level of disease tolerance.

He said biotechnology was safe despite some scepticism from some
quarters worldwide adding that there was no reason why it should not be
embraced in today's modern life.

A renowned academic who has written dozens of books on biotechnology,
Prof de Gregori is in Zimbabwe at the invitation of President Mugabe.

He is in the country to exchange notes with other researchers and
scientists in the field of biotechnology.

Speaking at the same occasion, chairman of the Bio-Safety Board Dr
Robbie Mupawose said biotechnology would be useful in agriculture,
health and industry.

"Biotechnology will increase food security if used properly. We are
becoming a very expensive producer so we have to watch out for costs of
production," he said.

He said Zimbabwe was renowned for its scientific prowess but of late
research projects had not been receiving adequate funding.

"Most institutions at the moment do not have adequate tools to promote

"Lack of appropriate remuneration has also seen most researchers leaving
the country for greener pastures in the region or abroad and we have to
do something about it," said Dr Mupawose.

Biotechnology, he said, provided golden opportunities for the use of
resources for the benefit of the nation.

Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences (ZAS) president Professor Christopher
Chetsanga said Zimbabwe had the biotechnological knowledge but it was
not being fully utilised because some people believed it was harmful.

He said by ignoring biotechnology, the nation was depriving itself of
essential technology.

Local scientists and researchers attended the seminar whose theme was
"Utilising Biotechnology to Enhance Agricultural and Food Production and
Disease Control".

Biotechnology has grown to become a driving force for economic growth in
developed countries and contributes significantly to high standards of living.

                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Africa urged to promote biotechnology
SOURCE: Xionhua, China, posted at UPI
DATE:   31 Jan 2006

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Africa urged to promote biotechnology

HARARE, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- African countries should form smart
partnerships to share knowledge on biotechnology applications in
agriculture, health, industry and food technology, an expert said on
Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Visiting Biotechnology specialist, Thomas DeGregori
of the University of Houston, in the United States, said this soon after
meeting Vice President Joyce Mujuru. "Africa needs all the knowledge it
can get together on biotechnology," he said. DeGregori said there was
growing concern in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa on the failure to
produce adequate food to feed the people. He said Africa was the only
continent in the world that had experienced a decline in food per capita
over the past 15 years. "African farmers are taking more nutrients out
of the soil than they are putting, making agriculture not sustainable,"
he said. Biotechnology was the solution to the challenges that African
countries were experiencing and governments should listen to what their
scientists were telling them about the science, said DeGregori. African
scientists had been promoting biotechnology long before outsiders
started talking Genetically Modified Organisms, he said. They had been
developing seed varieties that were drought resistant, high yielding and
adapted to local conditions. The Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences, in
conjunction with the Research Council of Zimbabwe, invited DeGregori to
deliver a public lecture on Applications of Biotechnology to
Agricultural Productivity, Health, Industry and Food Technology at the
University of Zimbabwe on Wednesday.


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