Public and private sector leaders, as well as the academia, participate in the agricultural biotechnology industry to review their achievements, innovations and set future plans of the sector
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – After a year of challenges due to the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Puerto Rico Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Association (PRABIA) celebrates today and tomorrow the tenth edition of its key event, the Biannual PRABIA Convention. The event brings together local and international industry professionals, academics and public sector leaders to explore a variety of topics and evaluate the industry’s achievements, innovations and future plans.
According to Sol Rosado, the newly elected president of PRABIA, this Convention "is an important platform to emphasize our industry’s significant role in addressing such pressing issues as food security and innovations that arise within the agricultural sector."
For her part, Beatriz Carrión, executive director of PRABIA, pointed out that, "as seen in the panels and presentations during this Convention, it is clear that Puerto Rico is a key player in the research and development in this sector, and at a local industry level, we are ideally positioned to boost the island’s socioeconomic growth."
In a shared panel on the first day of the convention, the deputy secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, Javier Rivera Aquino, and the secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Carlos Flores, echoed Carrión's statement.
"We recognize the value that agricultural biotechnology brings to the Puerto Rican economy, not only because of the investment made and the return on investment achieved; but also because of the employment opportunities the sector has created for hundreds of Puerto Rican professionals. It is also a positive thing that Puerto Rico is a headquarters for research and innovation, creating products conducive to improving the quality of crops around the world and contributing to food security. Our Government will continue to act as a facilitator so that this sector, dedicated to research and innovation, continues to expand operations in Puerto Rico and attract new investments that help diversify the Puerto Rican economy and contribute to its development,” said Rivera Aquino.
In his speech, Flores commented: "This is a highly regulated sector and PRABIA companies are in full compliance. Through the technology provided by the industry and the companies that are a part of it, we have rescued our lands and created jobs that contribute to the economic development of Puerto Rico."
Agronomists and other scientists from Puerto Rico and countries such as Mexico, the United States and others, participate in this tenth edition of the Biannual PRABIA Convention. Some of the presentations address issues such as the impact of the agricultural biotechnology industry in Puerto Rico, technological advances in the sector, innovation in crop protection and integrated agricultural solutions.
The importance of agricultural biotechnology. The activities of PRABIA member companies contribute $80 million annually to the local economy and incur about $130 million in expenditures on the Island. This sector is also the main recruiter and employer of local talent, particularly graduates from specialized local universities in agronomy and related sciences.
This industry is also key to the island’s socioeconomic development. The innovation that takes place in Puerto Rico has a global reach and has the potential to insert the island even deeper into the global knowledge economy. More important, is the industry’s role in Puerto Rico for the good of the planet. It is estimated that by the year 2050 the world population will surpass nine billion people! All countries are preparing and Puerto Rico – with its climate, human resources, infrastructure, incentives and other advantages – has an edge to make a big difference through discovery and knowledge.