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About Us

Vision and Mission

The Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS) supports partner countries in Africa and Asia in the responsible development and use of biotechnology. Managed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), PBS works with countries interested in using biotechnology to enhance agricultural innovation.

In many developing countries, economic growth and sustainability depend on the strong performance of the agricultural sector. The tools of biotechnology, when combined with the science of breeding, have created improved varieties that deliver increased value globally. Today, smallholder farmers in more than 15 countries successfully grow crop varieties developed through biotechnology.

Other countries, however, have not integrated biotechnology into their agricultural systems. Often, this hesitancy is due to a lack of a rational and predictable biosafety framework that facilitates access to products and varieties produced using biotechnology.

PBS works with stakeholders to develop and implement science-based, functional biosafety systems that ultimately: Expand producer choice, inspire consumer confidence, facilitate trade, and promote agricultural R&D.

Our independent and diverse team of experts supports the development of effective biosafety systems through an integrated package of assistance, including:

  • Sustained, on-the-ground support
  • A practical, product-focused approach
  • Science-based regulatory services
  • Independent policy research by IFPRI that informs decisionmakers
  • Unique methods to design stakeholder outreach and communication strategies
  • Legal analysis and advice

PBS, which has already provided services to 10 countries, has demonstrated a record of achievement and progress in the development of workable regulatory systems.

  • In Kenya, PBS played a lead coordinating role in legal reviews, stakeholder outreach, education and communication, which culminated in the passage of a biosafety bill into law in 2009.
  • In Uganda, PBS provided on-going technical support and hands-on training that resulted in successful confined field trials for multiple crops. PBS also provided legal and technical assistance in the development of a comprehensive biosafety law and associated regulations and guidelines.
  • In Nigeria, PBS experts provided technical assistance for the countries first-ever confined field trials for an important food security crop. In parallel, PBS provided legal analysis, technical expertise and outreach capacity to support the development of a biosafety legal framework.
  • In Vietnam, PBS supported the country’s first successful field trial by providing technical expertise, evaluation and training.
  • In Philippines, working in collaboration with national partners, PBS contributed sustained technical expertise and training that resulted in robust and timely regulatory decisionmaking on a range of commercial and experimental product introductions.

PBS is facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (www.ifpri.org), and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (www.usaid.gov). IFPRI is one of 15 agricultural research centers that receive their principal funding from governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations, most of which are members of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (www.cgiar.org).