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Bright Future Awaits Agricultural Biotechnology Industry
The biotechnology industry is an important star industry in the 21st century and the Executive Yuan has listed it as one of the six domestic emerging industries, so its future development does deserve great expectations.
“ National Science and Technology Program for Agricultural Biotechnology” had previously promoted the integration of inter-ministerial research and development capacities and laid a quite excellent foundation for R&D, but could not establish definitely the agricultural biotechnology industry and did not enhance the economic value. To coordinate with the overall national economic development strategy, the Council of Agriculture (COA) presented three action plans for designating major industries, establishing a commercial platform and assisting agricultural businesses to solve key problems facing the agricultural biotech industry in the 2006 Executive Yuan Advisory Committee for Promoting Biotechnology conference. While setting integration of the accumulated R&D capacities by “National Science and Technology Program for Agricultural Biotechnology” as its mission, the COA also presented the “Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Development Plan” to fully promote the development of domestic agricultural biotechnology industry in a 5-year period (2009-2013).
The plan’s development strategy is to integrate and map out the framework for the overall development of the biotechnology industry, on the basis of Taiwan agriculture’s current advantages and future development opportunities, according to the agricultural biotechnology industry’s upstream, midstream and downstream R&D capacities, pointed out Mr. Wei-ping Hung, R&D section chief of the COA Science and Technology Department. Since this is an overall development plan that cannot be accomplished by a single government agency, it is necessary to integrate inter-ministerial resources. Therefore, in addition to resource integration and division of labor among participating agencies, the government also actively strengthens professional domestic agricultural biotechnology talents and R&D capacities to effectively implement the practical application of R&D achievements through the three-level vertical division of labor framework: the Executive Yuan Biotechnology Industry Steering Group, the Task Force for Promoting Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Development Plan, and the Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Promotion Office.
Mr. Hung said the 5-year plan included 6 development strategies, 21 adopted measures and 50 projects for implementation. The focus in the future is to integrate and map out the overall industry development framework, on the basis of Taiwan agriculture's current advantages and future development opportunities, according to the agricultural biotechnology industry’s upstream, midstream and downstream R&D capacities.
The 2010 Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Development Plan has formulated 164 projects to implement innovative R&D, industry-academia cooperation, industrial assistance and biotechnology industry promotion, and designated aquaculture, plant, livestock, microorganism and interdisciplinary biotechnology as the 5 key development industries.
According to the conclusions of the Bio Taiwan Committee conference in 2006, Taiwan’s agricultural biotechnology industry set “transforming agriculture from production- and food demand-oriented into one which upgrades quality of life and sustainable development” as its vision, but the agricultural biotechnology industry could not exist on its own and must integrate closely with the whole traditional agricultural system. In short, all R&D projects under the plan are mainly directed at technologies and products with biotechnology industry application potentials, and industrial benefits and feasibility assessments have to be conducted on the market competitiveness and value of commercialized technologies being developed before attracting the support of domestic or foreign businesses or venture capitals and maximizing the benefit of agricultural biotechnology industry development by keeping in Taiwan the key technologies developed in various R&D projects. It is estimated that Taiwan’s agricultural biotechnology industry can attain the target of doubling its output value by 2015, helping Taiwan achieve the important goal of becoming the Asia-Pacific agricultural biotechnology R&D center and a economic industry.