Stakeholders in the country’s industrial biotechnology sector have been challenged to embrace safe, sustainable and responsible practices that are consistent with provisions of legal frameworks.
By Tinotenda Munyukwi
This came out during an industrial biotechnology training workshop organised by the National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe (NBA) from August 22 to 24 and was running under the theme Industrial Biotechnology: Driving Value-Addition and Beneficiation.
Speaking to NewsDay on Thursday, on the sidelines of a dinner to mark the end of the workshop in Harare, NBA Zimbabwe chief executive officer Jonathan Mufandaedza called for mainstreaming of biosafety in all sectors of the economy.
“Let me underscore that the use of any technology has potential risks and as NBA, we are there to proffer and give guidelines so as to minimise these risks,” he said.
“So, I am saying let’s mainstream biosafety in our operations, education system and research processes, as this will enable anyone who is making products using biotechnology to produce safe products, work under safe environments and also afford safety to other people and that is very critical.
“So going forward, we think mainstreaming biosafety becomes our priority.”
Zimbabwe is currently trying to up efforts to fulfil its economic strategy of value-addition and beneficiation on raw materials from mining and agriculture, through harnessing effective industrial biotechnological processes.
Said Mufandaedza: “Already, we have biotechnology, but we are trying to scale it up and make people aware that the more we use this technology, the more we derive benefits from it. So I see the trajectory of it being drawn from use and application of biotechnology.”
The workshop had several participants drawn from 18 Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries and Mufandaedza said working with other NAM member States was advantageous in bio-technology exchange and growing the sector in Zimbabwe.
“Working with other countries enhances our existence as a country because this technology transfers from other countries into our country and our operations, given that we are now a global economy,” he said.