Experts urge use of agricultural biotechnology as response to climate change

Update: August, 19/2017 - 20:20
Delegates meet at an APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology workshop in Cần Thơ on August 18-19. - VNS Photo Thế Anh
Viet Nam News

CẦN THƠ Agricultural biotechnology is one of the key tools that can improve the yield and quality of agricultural products in a time of climate change, experts said.

The experts were attending an APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) workshop in Cần Thơ on August 18-19.

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thủy, chair of the HLPDAB, and director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Science, Technology and Environment, said that Việt Nam, like many other economies, was facing multiple challenges due to climate change, including shrinking agricultural area and land degradation caused by urbanisation and saline intrusion caused by rising sea levels.

“Many localities are suffering severe consequences of extreme weather, such as heavy rains, floods, flash floods, coastal shoreline erosion and salinity intrusion. These are threatening people’s livelihoods and agricultural production,” she said.

Việt Nam has identified its response to climate change as one of the key tasks of its entire political system.

“Strengthening international dialogue and co-operation in response to climate change is a priority set by the Government. This includes encouraging the use of new innovative technologies to promote sustainable agriculture, in which agricultural biotechnology is one of the key tools.”

 Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, Phạm Văn Toàn, associate professor at the Việt Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said climate change, drought and saline intrusion were seriously affecting agricultural production.

“With biotechnology, we can create drought-resistant and saline-resistant varieties to help the agricultural sector make products that meet market demand and food security, he said.

“Biotechnology can help create new crop varieties that adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and especially helps improve the efficient usage of nutrients of crop plants,” he said.

Globally, more than 400 genetic modification events (an insertion of a particular transgene) had been approved for food and animal feed, he said, adding that more than 20 events (maize and soybean) had been approved in Việt Nam.

Việt Nam’s biotechnology industry had begun development 20 years ago, but its achievements remained modest, he said.

Tomorrow, the annual meetings of the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group and the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology will be held. - VNS