Randy A. Hautea and Margarita Escaler
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications

Crop improvement facilitated by modern biotechnology is one the most significant developments in plant biotechnology research and development (R&D). Within Asia, plant biotechnology has largely been acknowledged as a key strategy for achieving food security and sustainable agriculture; many governments give high priority to agricultural biotechnology R&D. Current plant biotechnology research initiatives in selected Asian countries are presented in this paper. Many of these countries focus their biotechnology research on food crops and crops of high commercial value in the hope of meeting increasing food requirements and reducing poverty, particularly among resource-poor farming households. Harnessing biotechnology applications for the benefit of the poor, however, requires considerable attention in many areas, including appropriateness of and access to agri-biotechnology by resource-poor farmers, capability of the public sector in biotechnology R&D, regulatory framework that enhances the use of biotechnology applications, and public-private sector partnerships.

Key words: Agriculture, Asia, biotechnology, biotechnology R&D, genetically modified crops, plant biotechnology