Biotechnology in Bangladesh
Haseena Khan Ph.D
Biotechnology students of the country should feel proud that Bangladesh now has a National Policy on Biotechnology. The document emphasizes that since many countries in the South and South Asia have developed good capacity in biotechnology and are reaping the benefits of this modern technology for their well being and development, Bangladesh should urgently take necessary steps to develop human resource and capacity for biotechnology research.
A policy goal of this document is to facilitate the availability of scientific and technical human resource in all disciplines relevant to the life science and biotechnology sector. In order to build a successful biotechnology sector, requirement of large talent pools in multiple scientific disciplines such as molecular and cell biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, bioinformatics, medicine, agriculture, microbiology, technology transfer & commercialization, bioentreprise & biofinancing and intellectual property rights management has been stressed.
This policy is expected to promote opportunities for the application of innovative biotechnology products. The released document covers almost all aspects of Biotechnology and its utilisation for national development. This emphasizes that the GOB is aware of what is needed for Bangladesh to catch up with the rest of the developing world, for sustainable development and for international competitiveness.
The main goal of the policy is to ensure sustainable development of agriculture-food and other crops, nutrition, health and environment. It also aims to improve livelihood of people and enhance agricultural competitiveness in relation to global standards. The other important goals include strengthening the national capabilities in modern biotechnology, biosafety, and bioethics to ensure the judicious use of this modern tool for socio-economic development of the country. To this end the National Biotechnology Policy has formulated several objectives.
The policy underscores that we need to keep pace with the fast advancing field of modern biotechnology and achieve world class competence in different areas of biotechnology. In order to create enabling environment for modern biotechnology research, development extension and commercialization, the policy ensures taking appropriate measures for infrastructure and human resource development and creation of centres of excellence in identified priority areas of biotechnology based on national needs. Emphasis is also given on intellectual property rights, indigenous community knowledge, biosafety, biodiversity and other related issues in order to ensure safe and judicious use of this technology.
The Government organs:
The government organs involved in the governance of biotechnology in Bangladesh are:
(a)National Taskforce on Biotechnology, with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh as the head of this committee (NTBB).
(b)National Executive Committee on Biotechnology chaired by the Principal Secretary of the Government of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh (NECB)
(c)Five National Technical Committees on:
(i)National Technical Committee on Biosafety (NCB)
(ii)National Technical Committee on Biodiversity
(iii)National Technical Committee on Crop Biotechnology
(iv)National Technical Committee on Medical Biotechnology
(v)National Technical Committee on Animal and Fish Biotechnology
The Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest chair the first two technical committees. The Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Secretary, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries chair the other committees, respectively.
The organogram of committees overseeing the Development of Biotechnology in Bangladesh
The adopted policy on bio-technology can lead Bangladesh towards a new era of responsible biotechnology research and practice. The students of biotechnology, molecular and cell biology should take note that the country has a great need for their talents and we hope with competent human resource and institutional capacity we can harness modern biotechnology for our development.
Haseena Khan Ph.D
and Molecular Biology
University of Dhaka
(R) thedailystar.net 2006