Biotechnology

 

Scope of Agricultural Biotechnology Research

 

In order for Ethiopia to ensure food and nutrition security, the ongoing approach ought to be support by the application of modern biotechnological tools to cope up with the challenges that are usually cannot be solved by traditional and conventional practices.  Accordingly, Ethiopia enacted a Biosafety Proclamation 655/2009, that focuses on the conservation of genetic resources and said to be prohibitive and stringent. However, few years later, this was amended as Proclamation 896/2015 that offers special permit for research and education in modern Biotechnology. Moreover, the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTI) was also established in 2008. These instruments have now enabled institutions to conduct research and education in agricultural biotechnology that are relevant to our country.

 

Our Role

 

The thematic areas of the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Coordination Unit at EARCS include:

§  Enhancing the efficiency of production and productivity of plants, livestock and microbial products through the application of biotechnological tools

§  Improving food and feed nutritional security and safety (improving taste, flavor, postharvest quality and prolonging the shelf life of products; developing functional foods and feeds, nutraceuticals, therapeutics and vaccines, disease diagnostic tools)

§  Reducing environmental impact through the use of biological agents and decreased use of pesticides for the management of biotic constraints (diseases, insect-pests, weeds, parasites) that affect plants and livestock production

§  Improving stress tolerance to climate change and abiotic stresses such as drought, soil acidity/salinity/toxicity, adverse temperature (heat and frost) and enhance nutrients uptake

§  Bioprocessing of renewable resources: Biomass conversion to high value products, feedstocks processing, biofuels, phytoremediation, etc.

Our Focus

 

EARCS’s coordination and support is materialized under three main programs, namely, plant, animal and microbial biotechnology programs, that are conducted at EIAR, RARI (ARARI, TARI, SARI OARI). There are also about 30 government universities that are delivering courses or run undergraduate and postgraduate programs in biotechnology fields, showing that the capacity of research and education in biotechnology is progressing gradually.

 

Thus, building the capacities of institutions in biotechnology research requires utmost attention with fast-track approach to catch up the advancements and compensate the elapsed opportunities.

 

The agricultural research master plan of EARCS describes biotechnology as one of the drivers of the  capacity building  pillars.

 

Programs and Sub-Programs

 

Programs and sub-programs to be conducted by EARCS until the end of GTP III

 

Plant Biotechnology Program

Tissue Culture Research Sub-program

Molecular Characterization and Marker Technology Research Sub-Program

Mutagenesis and Genetic Engineering Research Sub-Program

Diagnostics and Indexing of Plant Pests Research Sub-Program

Livestock Biotechnology Program

Livestock Reproductive Biotechnology Research Sub-Program

Livestock Health Biotechnology Research Sub-Program

Genetics and Molecular Biotechnology Research Sub-Program

Feeds and Nutrition Research Sub-Program

Microbial Biotechnology Research Program

Food and Feed Fermentation Microorganisms Research Sub-Program

Enzymes and Other Metabolites Producing Microorganisms Research Sub-Program

Biofertilizers Research Sub-Program

Biopesticides Research Sub-Program

 

Issues to be Addressed

 

Strengthen the institutions that acquire modest biotechnology capacities

 

 Upgrading the human resource capacities through providing short- and long-term training

 

Establishing state-of-the-art core and specialized facilities and infrastructure: OMICS technologies (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics); infrastructure required for GM technologies (biosafety level II laboratory and greenhouse facility); technology incubation centers, entrepreneurship and start-ups for a wider transfer of biotechnology products and their commercialization; germplasm and microbial culture preservation facilities; bioinformatics facilities

 

Establish new biotech facilities for institutions that do not possess presently

 

Develop a system for collaborative and cooperative research activities with advanced institutions

 

Establish the system for fast transfer of biotechnology products for wide-scale production and commercialization