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7-Business: Vietnam earmarks USD 63 Mill for biotechnology programme

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TITLE:  VND1 trillion earmarked for bio-technology
SOURCE: Vietnam News / Vietnam Economic Times
DATE:   24 Feb 2006

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VND1 trillion earmarked for bio-technology

The Prime Minister recently approved a VND1 trillion (US$62.9 million)
programme to develop and apply bio-technology in agriculture and rural
development over the next 15 years.

The three-phase programme was designed to help scientists develop
genetically-modified species of plants, livestock, and micro-organisms
to bolster agricultural productivity. Funding will be provided for
scientific research, trial productions and specialised training for the

In the first phase of the project, which is to run until 2010,
scientists are to find ways of applying bio-technology in agricultural
production, creating new strains of crops and animal breeds that would
allow farmers to operate more efficiently and profitably. Scientists
hope to develop eight new strains of rice and two new varieties of maize
in the next five years, and develop livestock vaccines by 2015.

Up to 80 doctors and 500 to 1,000 bio-technology technicians
specialising in agriculture are to be trained for the project over the
next five years, and laboratories are to be upgraded to also research
institutes to contribute to a future agricultural bio-technology centre.

In the second phase, from 2011-15, 50 international co-operation
projects will be focused on transferring and applying latest
technological and scientific achievemenls and giving Vietnamese
scientists access to up-to-date genetic research.

A bio-technology market will be established to promote the production,
marketing and trade of key bio-technology products in Viet Nam, with the
aim of increasing revenue in the agricultural sector by as much as 20-30
per cent through the application of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

According to the plan, by 2020, up to half of all land under cultivation
in Viet Nam will be set aside for genetically modified crops, and it is
hoped by that time Viet Nam's agricultural bio-technology industry will
rank among the most advanced in the Southeast Asian region.

To achieve the ambitious targets, the Government says bio-tech research
and development programmes need to be nurtured. Additional investment
capital must be mobilised from other sources, including State-owned and
foreign-invested businesses and international organisations, to pay for
specialised training and new research facilities.

The Government is to prepare policies to help the fledgling bio-tech
sector mature and flourish, with an emphasis given to protecting patents
on newly developed GMOs, and will work with international organisations
to educate the public about the application of bio-technology in the
agricultural sector.

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
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