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Incentives sought to unlock biotech venture potential

Update: October, 26/2009 - 00:00

Incentives sought to unlock biotech venture potential

(27-10-2009)

Scientists at the Institute for Foodcrop Plants examine cell-tissue potatoes. Biotechnology is expected to become a major industry in Viet Nam soon. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Dong

HCM CITY — Biotechnology will be one of the key industries for Viet Nam to develop in the future, having proved its effectiveness in several fields, experts have said.

Agriculture, fisheries, food processing and health care were among many sectors that had benefited from biotechnology, they said at the 2009 National Biotechnology Conference in Southern Viet Nam held in HCM City last weekend.

Phan Minh Tan, director of the municipal Science and Technology Department, said, "In the south, biotechnology has gained several initial important achievements over the last four years, but we need to promote its application in more fields to serve increasing daily demands."

Since 2006, the city has spent VND11.5 billion (US$676,000) to boost biotechnology projects, especially to train scientists in research and applications in extracting genes from plants and animals; biochemistry and enzymes; microorganisms; and fermentation processes.

Around 70 per cent of the research findings had been applied in production, but these advances were still limited, the conference heard.

To develop the industry, the city has spent around VND50 billion ($3 million) over the last few years, and it is planning a further outlay of VND240 billion ($13.5 million) in the coming years.

Le Hoai Quoc, deputy director of the department, said the Government should invest in biotech applications for medicines, including human vaccines as well as in developing high-quality seeds for agriculture and afforestation.

"The Government should announce a list of priority products and create incentives for them," he added.

He also asked that the department be allowed to sign contracts or work in joint-ventures with foreign partners to maintain material supplies.— VNS

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