SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Department of Agriculture Secretary Myrna Comas stated that: “The agricultural biotechnology industry in Puerto Rico exports quality products after having undergone the research and development process that is performed on the Island,” and made assurances that we have a great competitive advantage in international markets. Her comments were made during a panel discussion that opened the Puerto Rico Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Association’s (PRABIA) 9th Annual Convention.
Also taking part in the event along with the Secretary were Raúl E. Macchiavelli, Dean of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus; Alma L. Santiago, Dean of Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University in Ponce; and Henry Terán, President of PRABIA.
“This is a highly regulated sector and PRABIA member companies are in full compliance. Through the technologies that the industry contributes and the work of member companies, we have rescued lands of high agricultural development,” added Comas.
For Beatriz Carrión, Executive Director of PRABIA, “This panel discussion is a preamble to the PRABIA Convention and highlights the importance of the role our industry plays in addressing pressing matters such as food security and the nutritional value of food, among others. We are a sector based on innovation in this realm, finding solutions and establishing best practices. Puerto Rico is a crucible of research and development in this sector, and on a global scale, we are ideally positioned to drive socioeconomic development in the country.”
Henry Terán, President of PRABIA, also noted that as an Association, one of the strategies that PRABIA uses to fulfill its mission is collaboration by way of strategic alliances with the public and private sectors, as well as the academia. As an example, PRABIA recently signed collaborative agreements with the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus.
“It is important that academia stay informed of changes in the agricultural biotechnology industry. Our effort is undertaken with the objective of adapting the academic programs so that they are more relevant to the industry and help solve social problems. We also want to provide new career-defining opportunities for the professionals of tomorrow,” said Alma Santiago, Dean of Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University in Ponce.
“There are many factors that connect academia to the agricultural biotechnology industry. We have a lot in common to research and to benefit students. It is a win-win situation for both sectors because, on the one hand, we graduate successful professionals and the agricultural biotechnology companies benefit from this intelligence,” said Raúl Macchiavelli, Dean of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus.
The importance of agricultural biotechnology. The activities of the seven multinational PRABIA member companies that operate on the Island represent an economic activity of over $105 million in operating budget, and the creation of 3,000 jobs. This sector is also the main recruiter and employer of local talent, especially graduates of local universities majoring in Agronomy and related sciences.
This industry is also key to the socioeconomic development of the country. The innovation that takes place in Puerto Rico is global in reach and has the potential to insert the Island further in the global knowledge economy. More important is the role of the industry in Puerto Rico and the good it does for the planet. It is forecasted that by the year 2100, the world’s population will surpass 11 billion people! All countries are preparing for this and Puerto Rico – with its weather, human resource, infrastructure, incentives and other advantages – has a head start in making a big difference by way of discovery and knowledge.
The 9th Annual PRABIA Convention will be held September 21 through 23 at the Condado Plaza Hilton hotel in San Juan.
Founded in 1995, PRABIA is a nonprofit organization that gathers the main agricultural biotechnology companies that operate in Puerto Rico – AgReliant Genetics, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, Syngenta, Illinois Crop Improvement, Monsanto del Caribe and DuPont Pioneer. The objective of the Association is to strengthen the agricultural biotechnology ecosystem on the Island in the face of global food production challenges. The operations of the PRABIA member companies promote economic development by creating about 3,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities, foster education, support communities, strengthen the academic community, and establish programs aimed at future scientists and agronomists.
For additional information regarding PRABIA, visit www.prabia.org or the official PRABIA Facebook Page http://bit.ly/2aeRQmJ