Government Communications on approved Regional Engagement Strategy for Biosafety

At its meeting held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday, 6 June 2018, Cabinet approved the implementation of the Regional Engagement Strategy for Biosafety.

Farmers in Africa have over the past two years adopted biotechnology to improve food security by ensuring the safety of plants and animals.

The Acting Director-General of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Ms Phumla Williams, said: The ultimate aim is to ensure improved food security and agricultural systems by adopting appropriate productivity enhancing technologies.

The strategy enables Intra-African trade and improves the regions’ competitiveness in global markets. It focuses on improving South Africa’s collaboration and cooperation within the African region.

Through the implementation of the Biosafety Strategy, South Africa’s contribution and support to African countries � based on expressed needs � is strengthened. Sharing of South Africa’s knowledge and expertise gained through the development of laws, regulations and institutional research capacity will assist other African countries.

Modern biotechnology offers a range of tools which are able to deliver useful products or offer effective solutions in major sectors of the economy, including agriculture, health, food and environment. This includes plant breeding to raise and stabilise yields; improve resistance to pests, diseases and drought and cold, and enhance the nutritional content of foods.

Biotechnology is being used for the diagnosis and treatment of plant and animal diseases, and also to speed up breeding programmes for plants, livestock and fish. Animal feeds and feeding practices are being changed by biotechnology to improve animal nutrition and to reduce environmental waste, she explained.

Globally, biotechnology is recognised as an important potential driver of economic growth and a major tool in the fight against hunger and poverty, especially in developing countries. It is potentially the most powerful tool for food security and the most beneficial for the poor. Therefore, it is important to share with the region the knowledge gained to improve biosafety, added Ms Williams.

Source: Government of South Africa