The Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSPII) and Product-Driven Capacity Building for Emerging Markets
The Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II is a USAID-funded consortium of public and private sector institutions managed by Cornell University that focuses on the safe and effective development and commercialization of bioengineered crops as a complement to traditional agricultural approaches for small-scale farmers. ABSPII’s management team will share the lessons learned from 10 years of supporting agricultural biotechnology research and product development in India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Uganda, and Mali. Presentations will include an overview of the ABSPII philosophy and organization, highlights of banana research in Uganda and eggplant product development in Asia, best practices for communicating about agricultural biotechnology, and the benefits of public-private partnerships. The experiences here are a collective example of how the development of new technology became a driving force for capacity building for the potential opening of new markets.
Opening remarks (Ronnie Coffman, Cornell University and Larry Beach, USAID)
Importance of ABSPII to the Feed the Future Initiative (Julie Howard, Chief Scientist, USAID)
Lessons learned from ABSPII: A decade of taking a product-driven approach to capacity building in agricultural biotechnology research and product development in emerging markets (Frank Shotkoski, Director, ABSPII)
Banana improvement project in Uganda: Supporting agricultural research through Feed the Future and strong Mission involvement (W. Tushemereiwe, Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization)
Lessons learned in communication: The challenges of communicating about agricultural biotechnology and the importance of public outreach (Randy Hautea, ISAAA)
Building and strengthening functional biosafety regulatory frameworks (Saharah Moon Chapotin, Acting Division Chief for Agricultural Research, USAID)
Bt eggplant: an alternative strategy for reduced pesticide use and increased productivity of small-holder eggplant farms in South and Southeast Asia (Desiree Hautea, ABSPII Regional Coordinator, Southeast Asia)
ABSPII: Successful public-private partnerships in agricultural biotechnology research and product development (K. Vijayaraghavan, ABSPII Regional Coordinator, South Asia)
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W. Ronnie Coffman serves as International Professor of Plant Breeding and Director of International Programs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA. He also serves as Principal Investigator of the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSPII), the Agricultural Innovation Partnership, and the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project. With Jeanie Borlaug Laube as Chair, he serves as Vice Chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative. Previous positions include Associate Dean for Research and Director, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station; Chair of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, and Plant Breeder at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Coffman's work has been important to the development of improved rice varieties grown on several million hectares throughout the world. He has collaborated extensively with institutions in the developing world and has served as a board member for several international institutes, including the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Currently, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA), and the Council of Advisors of the World Food Prize. His Ph.D. is from Cornell University and undergraduate work was done at the University of Kentucky, his home state.
Frank Shotkoski, is the Director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII) at Cornell University. Before joining Cornell University, Frank worked as the Global Cotton Traits Technical Manager with Novartis and later Syngenta from 1998-2004 where he built a cotton biotechnology program that resulted in the development of trait-based product using the insecticidal protein Vip3A (VipCotTM). Prior to joining Syngenta, Frank held the positions of Research Associate and Research Fellow at the University of Washington’s Department of Medical Genetics where he conducted research on human gene therapy applications with an emphasis on developing gene-based therapies for treatment of patients with hematopoietic diseases such a sickle cell anemia and b-thalasemia.Shotkoski is a senior level biotechnology project management and business development professional specializing in product development and commercialization of genetically engineered trait-based crop products. His expertise stems from over 20 years of academic and industrial experience in both medical and agricultural biotechnology. Frank earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Entomology from the University of Minnesota in 1992 and Master of Science and Bachelor of Science from the University of Nebraska in 1988 and 1984, respectively. He has received additional training in numerous professional project management and business development programs. He is the author of many refereed publications, numerous abstracts and several book chapters.
United States Agency for International Development
Saharah Moon Chapotin is currently acting Division Chief for Agricultural Research at the U.S. Agency for International Development. She joined the agency in 2006 as a Biotechnology Advisor, managing international partnerships to promote the adoption of conservation agriculture practices in South Asia and to develop bioengineered crops for small-holder farmers and strengthen biosafety regulatory capacity in Africa & Asia. Prior to this, she worked at the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP), Iowa State University, where her work focused on resolving regulatory issues for genetically engineered crops, especially those intended for small and niche-markets. Chapotin holds a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Harvard University and has completed the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program.
National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO)
Wilberforce Tushemereirwe holds a Ph.D in plant pathology obtained from the University of Reading, Department of Agriculture, in 1997. Currently, he is Principal Research Officer in the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) Uganda, a designation he has held since 2006. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities of the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. He has headed the National Banana Research Programme of the NARO-Uganda, since 1997. In this position he directs all research projects on bananas in NARO, including the ABSPII banana project in Uganda. Before 1997 he served as a research officer in NARO.
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)
Randy A. Hautea obtained his PhD in Plant Breeding from Cornell University, and his MSc and BS degrees in Agronomy and Plant Breeding from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He is currently the Global Coordinator of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), and concurrently the Director of the ISAAA Southeast Asia Center ISAAA is an international not-for-profit organization engaged in facilitating the assessment, acquisition, transfer, and management of biotechnology applications for the benefit of developing countries, and operates principally in Southeast Asia and East Africa. Prior to joining ISAAA in 1998, he served as Director of the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines Los Baños. He has also consulted with various organizations, and has been involved in several program reviews and assessments of international agricultural research centers of the CGIAR.
University of the Philippines Los Baños
Desiree Hautea is the ABSPII Coordinator for South East Asia (Philippines and Indonesia). She is a Professor of Genetics, Molecular biology and biotechnology at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños. Desiree holds a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics and Breeding from the University of Illinois. She manages several programs on crop improvement, biotechnology, genetic resources, and seed support systems, including participation in the development and implementation of relevant policies at the University and national levels. She is author and co-author of more than 25 scientific publications in refereed journals, books and proceedings and has presented over 50 papers at national and international scientific meetings.