23 August 2017

Zimbabwe: 'Industrialisation Can Hinge On Biotech'

Biotechnology has potential to promote industrialisation of Non-Aligned Movement states if efforts are made to harness its potential, a Government official said yesterday. Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister, Dr Godfrey Gandawa, told delegates at the opening of the second NAM technical meeting on industrial biotechnology that biotechnology could help spur industrialisation and improve the quality of life people in NAM member countries.

"It is, therefore, pertinent that the adoption of critical research in new and emerging technologies in biotechnology that enhance industrial processes be strategic for the revitalisation of our manufacturing to achieve sustainable development," he said.

Dr Gandawa said it was important for scientists to help fulfil the implementation of various strategies that were adopted to drive value addition and beneficiation.

Zimbabwe has incorporated value addition and beneficiation of raw materials into its national economic blueprint -- the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM-ASSET).

"But the question is what have we done so far to fulfil the implementation of ZIM-ASSET? There has been a lot of talk on value addition and beneficiation and less action," the Deputy Minister said.

"It is, therefore, anticipated that such forums should enhance and develop biotechnology skills, which are vital for economic and social development through industrial biotechnology."

Zimbabwe is hosting the second NAM Science and Technology technical meeting on industrial biotechnology to promote value addition and beneficiation among member states.

The technical meeting which attracted more than 40 technical experts from 19 NAM countries was being held the theme: "Driving Value Addition and Beneficiation.

"More so, it is pertinent to explore the role industrial biotechnology can play in improving our operations in mining through bio-mining and agricultural process. Industrial biotechnology can be a key enabler in our quest for industrialisation and modernisation," said Dr Gandawa.

Director-general of the Centre for Science and Technology of NAM and other developing countries, Prof Arun Prakash Kulshreshtha echoed the same sentiments.

"Industrial Biotechnology is among the most efficient and growing sectors today with enormous scope for innovation, research and development, and by innovative advancements in this area a country can achieve new heights in the fields of agriculture, medicine, renewable energy, climate sustainability and many more," he said.

"That is why the NAM S &T Centre was invited by Zimbabwe to organise this international brainstorming training workshop with the objective of gathering collective wisdom for use by all stakeholders to accelerate the pace of industrial development in their countries."

Experts say the effective application of biotechnology can empower people to attain household food and nutritional security and improved livelihoods.

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