Byline: Vijay Paranjape
After its approval in 2013, the number of farmers adopting Bt eggplant in Bangladesh is steadily increasing, from 20 farmers in 2013-14 to 6500 in 2016-17 and is likely to continue to grow in the coming years. With other GM products in the pipeline in Bangladesh, there is a need for an organization-wide approach to drive stewardship rather than project-by-project approach, according to Dr. Vijay Paranjape, stewardship coordinator, Bangladesh, for the Feed The Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership.
As part of a three-day workshop held in Dhaka, August 27-29, experts emphasized the importance of stewardship and communication in sustaining biotech technology in Bangladesh for the Bt eggplant and Late Blight Resistant Potato projects. Stewardship is the responsible way to manage biotechnology-derived plant products from discovery and development, to use and eventual adoption. A structured approach based on the guidelines of “Excellence Through Stewardship” principles is essential to sustain the technology. (http://www.excellencethroughstewardship.org/)
“A stewardship program needs to be implemented at all stages of product development from research in the laboratory, to activities in containment facilities, to confined field trials, to plant and seed multiplication/production and commercial seed distribution,” said Dr. Paranjape, who also works for Sathguru Management Consultants. “Organizations need to have a quality management system that comprises the systems and processes to establish stewardship and maintain quality in each phase of the product life cycle.”
An effective stewardship program:
- Supports regulatory compliance
- Maintains product integrity – purity, identity and traceability of product
- Assists in preventing trade disruptions
- Maximizes technology benefits to farmers/consumers
- Shares best practices
- Promotes stakeholder engagement / gains trust
- Drives continuous improvement
Implementation of successful stewardship and communication programs requires the participation of all stakeholders associated with the development of Bt eggplant and other biotech crops like Late Blight Resistant Potato and Golden Rice, according to Dr. Paranjape.