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Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment to launch Biosafety project

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The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment (MOHWE) is to launch a National Biosafety Framework (NBF) Project. Its aim is to implement effective, operable, transparent and sustainable biosafety frameworks. Word of this ha come from the Permanent Secretary, Luis de Shong.{{more}}

The launch, which is part of the Ministry’s public education programme, is slated for April 4th, 9 a.m. at the Methodist Church Hall. Many stakeholders are expected to be in attendance. The Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Honourable Clayton Burgin, would deliver the feature address. Professor Leonard O’Garro, Senior International Advisor Biosafety/Biotechnology, UWI, would also address the stakeholders.

Biosafety focuses on providing adequate levels of safety in the field of modern biotechnology. While modern biotechnology, through the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), addresses food production needs, and also has applications in medicine and bioremediation of the environment, biosafety provides measures for minimizing potential risks that biotechnology may pose to the environment and human health.

Biosafety is an integral part of our nation’s sustainable developmental plan. Indeed, the importance of the NBF project to the wellbeing of Vincentians cannot be over emphasized. Between 2001 and 2011, St Vincent and the Grenadines imported 53 000 tonnes of soy-products and corn from eight countries that grow genetically modified (GM) or biotech food crops. The USA is the lead producer of GM crops and the largest supplier of soy products and corn to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

As a country which will be impacted directly or indirectly by modern biotechnology, it is certainly an imperative that our government and people work assiduously to fulfil their respective roles in effecting the biosafety frameworks to ensure the safe and proper use of GMOs, thereby conserving the biological soundness of our ecologies. Our blessed land is rich in biodiversity, flora and fauna, precious resources which we must treasure and protect.

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