Technology experts have tipped the Government of Malawi to increase investment in agriculture biotechnology for the country to fast-track its social and economic aspirations.
Dr. Abel Sefasi, a lecturer in molecular biology at Lilongwe University of Agriculture Natural Resources (LUANAR), said it is high time Malawi started looking at the best approaches by diversifying into many technologies to strike a balance in food security in the country.
Sefasi made the remarks during activities to commemorate the 2023 Open Forum on Agriculture Biotechnology (OFAB) Day.
He said increased funding towards biotechnology research could create more opportunities for the country to tap from.
“Biotechnology like any other technology has a lot of strength, there are some solutions including the challenges of drought, challenges of insects, all those challenges can be solved using biotechnology. We are not underestimating other approaches like good agricultural practices but with the current challenges we need quick solutions, we need accurate solutions and that is where biotechnology comes in,” he said.
National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) Director General, Gift Kadzamira, said this is an important platform where good will messages about biotechnology are brought in and solutions to some issues and challenges that we face in the agricultural sector are tackled.
“So this year we are focusing on agriculture biotechnology, as you may recall we have been doing things like research and supporting researches as NCST on issues to do with biotechnology like on biotechnology cotton and ofcourse plans are also underway to support research in biotechnology maize, so those are key messages and key activities that will be laid to the public so that they are able to understand the advantages of biotechnology and positives that can come out,” Kadzamira said.
Agriculture Biotechnology is a science that improves crops using current and improved techniques to get high yields, disease resistance, as well as to produce crops that can withstand drought conditions and insect effects to improve crop yields.
OFAB is a project of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) launched 17 years ago, which facilitates constructive conversation among key stakeholders and decision makers on agriculture biotechnology.
OFAB day is celebrated on 28th September every year and this year Malawi hosted the day with NCST being the champion of the project in the country it fosters innovation and collaboration in fields of agriculture, biotechnology and sustainable development.