Ethiopian biotech institute planned

Center, slated to cost $1.8 million, has goal of fighting hunger and poverty in the region

Wagdy Sawahel(wagdy.sawahel@ugent.be)
Nov 14, 2005

Ethiopia will get its first Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute (ABRI) by next year, with the goal of exploiting the region's biological resources, and providing sustainable economic development. Many scientists said that the institute can provide long-term solutions to problems plaguing the country, including poverty and hunger.

"We cannot just beg and keep distributing food to the people forever," said Tilahun Zeweldu, former coordinator of Ethiopia's program for capacity of national agricultural biotechnology, who helped to plan ABRI. The new institute could present long-term solutions by, for instance, improving plant products through modification, thereby boosting Ethiopia's farming and exports, he said. "We should start giving (Ethiopians) the means to produce food," Zeweldu told The Scientist in an Email.

The ABRI is part of the overall agricultural research capacity building project funded by a World Bank loan, and will be part of the Holetta Agricultural Research Center, about 45 kilometers...

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