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National Biosecurity System need of the hour

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Nov 21: The National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) here has convened a two day meeting from November 23 to discuss the emerging concerns for biosecurity affecting agriculture, environment and human health.

The meeting jointly organised with the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (Chennai) would discuss the country's preparedness for ensuring biosecurity besides aspects of biosecurity relating to food and agriculture, human health and in national context.

According to a NIAS document the meeting would convey a set of recommendations for ensuring biohappiness in the country based on scientifically sound and socially relevant agenda for biosecurity in appropriate areas of concern.

The meeting has been convened by NIAS in the backdrop of the recent concern by the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) on the lack of biosecurity system in the country and the need for evolving a National Agricultural Biosecurity System characterised by high professional, public and political credibility.

NCF's broad outline for a biosecurity system involved goals such as safeguarding the income and livelihood security of farm and fisher families as well as food, health and trade security of the nation. This could be only achieved through effective and integrated surveillance, vigilance, prevention and control mechanisms designed to protect the productivity and safety of crops, farm animals and forest trees, NIAS said.

NCF also called for enhancing national and local level capacity in intiating proactive measures in areas of monitoring, early warning, education, reserach and international cooperation and to introduce an integrated biosecurity package comprising regulatory measures, education and social mobilisation.

The National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources had been intercepting many alien invasive pests in imported agricultural commodities and this had trigged the NCF to initiate national debate for a biosecurity system to be put in place.

NIAS said biosecurity was a strategic and integrated approach that encompassed policy and regulatory frames which analyse and manage risks in the sectors of food safety, animal life and health and plant life and health, including assocaited environmental risks.

Currently India had no effective system for detecting, reporting and effectively mitigating outbreaks of new diseases or pests in crop plants and animals. Similarly no validated intervention was available for food production, processing and distribution system to react to an international contamination or occurance of a biosecurity threat.

NIAs said biosecurity was of even greater significance to the country since it related to livelihood security and major percentage of population, food, health and trade security of the nation.


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