As a national research institute, EIAR aspires to see improved livelihood of all Ethiopians engaged in agriculture, agro-pastoralism, and pastoralism through market-competitive agricultural technologies.

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OFAB-Ethiopia Chapter launches its Central Node at Addis Ababa University

OFAB-Ethiopia Chapter held its center node formation workshop at Addis Ababa University on 17th March 2018 in collaboration with Addis Ababa University, Institute of Biotechnology (AAU-IoB), at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences (CNCS) Meeting hall. The Node is one the nodes that OFAB Ethiopia is coordinating throughout the country and it will serve as a platform to bring together key stakeholders in central part of Ethiopia and thereby to enhance knowledge sharing and awareness on biotechnology and contribute to building an enabling environment for well informed decision making as far as the promotion of the science is concerned. 

Welcoming the participants, Dr. Tilye Feyissa, Associate Dean of College of Natural and Computational Sciences (CNCS) said that Ethiopia is endowed with immense natural resources suitable for the advancement of agriculture and mark the country to be frequently referred as among the world mega centers of biodiversity, such as food crops, animals, microbes and agro-ecologies. Safe application of modern biotechnology therefore offers the country to develop its bio-economy based on these resources, He added. The ten years endorsed National Biotechnology Road Map and the draft National Biotechnology Policy and other expedient created environments also provides an opportunity where various actors and professionals that engage in biotechnology research, education and development can play tremendous role in making use of huge resources that we have. He also noted that OFAB Ethiopia and its established nodes throughout the country in this regard, are expected to play an important role in making the public as well as the scientific community well aware of agricultural biotechnology activities taking place in the country. He supposed that this platform will serve to bring together various players in the area so as to implement agricultural biotechnology activities tends to solve our challenges in food and nutrition security, and sustainable use of natural resources. 

On his behalf, Dr. Tadess Daba, Director for Agricultural Biotechnology Research in EIAR said that our main driver to organize such like forums is to improving the awareness and understanding of the public on agricultural biotechnology through empirically validated knowledge and information found elsewhere in the country and outside. OFAB Ethiopia chapter is one of the initiations that focus on improving public understanding and appreciation of agricultural biotechnology by updating the public and scientific community with the national and global trend in the application and the use of biotechnology, he informed. He further explained that fortunately the central node constitutes of senior researchers and academicians who can support not only the central nodes but also other nodes established in other areas of the country to enhance understanding of the public and scientific community on agricultural biotechnology. He told the participants of the workshop that Biotechnology has many important aspects of application in agriculture especially in food and feed processing, plant and animal breeding, plant protection, soil fertility management, bioenergy, and so forth. Realizing the importance, EIAR has also design and initiate three main research programs under Biotechnology research, such as plant, animal and microbial biotechnology researches, he added. Finally, Dr. Tadesse said that there would be high expectation from this workshop in discussing and delivering important biotechnology related public understanding issues for our next steps. 

Focal person of OFAB-Ethiopia Chapter, Dr. Endal Gebre briefed the participants of the workshop with the objective and the progress of OFAB-Ethiopia. It is an initiative of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) under African Union/New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU/NEPAD) in collaboration of like-minded institutes in 2006 as a platform to facilitate regular exchange of credible information among stakeholders. In his presentation, he explained that the network is aimed at enhancing knowledge-sharing and awareness on biotechnology that it will help to raise understanding and appreciation of agricultural biotechnology and contribute to build an enabling environment for decision making.

OFAB initiative is implemented in eight countries in Africa and the Ethiopian chapter is the youngest one, it was established since June 2014, he noted. Since its establishment, OFAB has been undertaking various activities such as among others, forming Programing Committee (PC) oversee the networks, preparing publicity materials, developing of OFAB-Ethiopia webpage, assessing experts capacity, holding seminars, and consultative workshops at Arbaminch University, Goder University, Haramaya University and Mekele University. Furthermore, training and awareness forums for policy makers, public relation experts, editors, and journalists were organized.

Dr. Melkau, member of OFAB Ethiopia Secretariat presented the “Status of agricultural biotechnology research in Ethiopia.” Following Dr. Tesfaye Sisay, Director for Institute of Biotechnology at Addis Ababa University (AAU-IoB) offered a brief presentation on biotechnology education and research in Addis Ababa University under Institute of Biotechnology and the central university cluster. Side line visiting were similarly held to pay a quick visit of Biotechnology activities and facilities at AAU-IoB. Finally, the workshop is concluded with in-depth discussion with academic staff and stakeholders on the modality of node formation and succeeding activities. Members of Central University clutters, researchers, academic staffs and students were attending the workshop.


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