MIPR officers attend biosafety framework seminar

National 2 minutes, 40 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A BIOSAFETY Framework for Brunei Darussalam Seminar took place yesterday for officers of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) to discuss the formation of a framework for the regulation and enforcement of activities related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), agricultural and food products.

The seminar was delivered at the Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong, by an external consultant of the World Trade Institute, Dr Sufian Jusoh, who was engaged by Karya Bumi Planning Consultants.

MIPR developed a National Bio-safety Framework project with Karya Bumi Planning Consultants last year to identify existing laws and regulations in Brunei which can be used in the implementation of the Biosafety regulations.

The project is also set to pave the way for the creation of a National Authority of Genetic Modification (NAGM) as well as setting up and documenting biosafety framework, guidelines and protocols for import of genetically modified good and products for use as feed, food or for processing.

The project is also aimed to develop capacity building on both human resources and facilities on biosafety programme.

Permanent Secretary of Industry and Primary Resources Hjh Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Hj Awg Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri said that the Biosafety guidelines should be well designed to enable the ministry to manage the risk.

“The guidelines should be carried out accordingly in order to ensure the successful implementation of Biosafety guidelines by NAGM of Brunei and to gain the understanding and appreciation by the stakeholders,” she said in her speech.

Hjh Normah stressed that factors such as inventory and assessment of capabilities in biotechnology related to biosafety management and implementation should be considered. “This includes the preparation of a work plan to be carried out by the department concerned and the setting up and documenting of biosafety framework guidelines and protocols for research and development.”

She further added that this includes assessment of the existing manpower situation, existing laboratories, facilities and infrastructures available in preparation of the Biosafety Framework implementation and had provided proposals and recommendations for improvements.

“One of the core businesses of the Ministry is to ensure that food is available, edible, and accessible for residents and citizens in the country. It is indeed important for the agency under this ministry to take responsibility to take up initiatives in ensuring the food we eat is indeed edible,” said Hjh Normah.

She added that Brunei is on the verge of expanding and enhancing its agricultural production and at the same time having to face the genetically modified organisms (GMO) which is now being promoted all over the world.

“Major developments in biotechnology in advanced countries have brought to our shores various agriculture products no longer in its original form but those resulting from genetic engineering work with various positive agronomic features.

“In expanding Brunei’s agriculture, we cannot ignore the presence of GMO and how it can affect the country’s production and perhaps also our agriculture security,” said the permanent secretary.

She also said that there is a dire need for Brunei to have a stand on matters dealing with biosafety and biodiversity in order to be ready to face new modern technologies in agricultural production.

The Brunei Times