Malaysia poised to become pioneer in agricultural biotech crops

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Malaysia is the pioneer among Asian countries in having guidelines and regulations on the import of genetically modified (GM) or agribiotech (agricultural biotechnology) crops. We also have thorough guidelines and regulations on genetically-modified organisms (GMO) research.

The National Biotechnology Policy with agribiotech as the number one thrust has been in place since 2005 to spearhead Malaysia as a global player in bioeconomy by 2020. We have a well established support framework and agencies such as BiotechCorp and Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (Mabic) which actively promote agribiotech industry in the country. Agribiotech research in Malaysia is also of world-class standard with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for crop improvement. But, why is there still no GM crops in Malaysia?

Due to the domination of land by cash crops such as oil palm, there is limited land for large-scale isolated cultivation of GM crops. This has shifted the focus of local scientists to work on plant-made proteins (PMPs) using transgenic plants which require only a confined greenhouse for production.

There is a need to raise awareness on the importance of cultivating GM crops in today’s setting. It is high time for us to have a public discourse on the subject. The idea is to engage the public through value-based communications and not debate about science.

There are only five years left in the 15-year road map set out by the National Biotechnology Policy. Agribiotech crops are of paramount importance in the global food security for the coming decades. We don’t want to wake up one day to realise that we are too far behind our neighbouring countries in the agribiotech industry.

Read full, original post: Securing our food supply with GM crops

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