Biotechnology is already making important contributions to agriculture, forestry and fisheries development. It is now widely recognized that a number of current state-of-the-art biotechnologies offer science a powerful set of tools that responsibly used can significantly advance plant and animal productivity and ultimately accelerate sustainable development and food security. They also pose significant risks and challenges, especially to those developing countries that do not have the facilities or expertise to monitor and assess these ground breaking scientific developments.
Against this background, the institutional strengthening strategy of the Research and Extension Service has been broadened to assist NARS position biotechnology in a balanced perspective within the framework of existing national research agendas and priorities. Each NARS has a responsibility to formulate its own policies, priorities, strategies and programmes to harness biotechnology. To meet these responsibilities, the national research systems must have the necessary infrastructures and expertise and, above all else, access to up-to-date scientific information as it emerges. A majority of the developing country research systems are lacking in this regard.
Major NRRR activities are devoted to:
- Provide policy advice
- Ensure access to neutral and balanced information
- Provide technical assistance
- Biosafety capacity building