Agriculture Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII)

Farmer Saiful Islam weighs Bt brinjal fruits for the market in Bangladesh.

ABSPII focuses on safe & effective development as well as commercialization of bio-engineered crops as a complement to traditional and organic agricultural approaches to help poverty alleviation, reduce hunger and boost food security, economic growth, environmental quality and nutrition in the partner developing nations.

Project Duration: 2002-2015   Awarding Organization: USAID

Project Value:  USD 42 Million  Geography: Africa, South & South East Asia

Project Website

  • Facilitate public-private partnerships, provide support and build capacities of national research organizations in the areas of product development, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, licensing, bio-safety policy and testing, regulatory approval & science communication
  • To increase agricultural productivity in farmers fields through introduction of bio-engineered crops by promoting research, implementing technology transfer mechanisms for accelerating biotic and abiotic stress mitigation and harmonizing regulatory framework
  • To support scientists, regulators, policy-makers, extension workers, farmers and the general public to make informed decisions about agricultural biotechnology
  • To promote outreach efforts and increase public awareness and understanding of bio-engineered crops that address public needs
  • Built a first of its kind biggest consortium of partners through public private partnerships (PPP) bringing together research institutes, local universities and private sector
  • Successfully mobilized technologies traditionally held within private sector to the public research institutes free of cost for developing products for public good
  • Bangladesh emerged as the only Least Developed Country (LDC) to completely adopt genetically engineered (GE) technology and introduce a vital food product to achieve a step towards food security
  • Empowered Bangladesh to make informed decisions about agricultural biotechnology and promoted a pro-biotech regulatory structure and environment in the system
  • Brought about a paradigm shift in the regulatory processes of partner nations for approval and commercialization of genetically modified crops by closely working with various ministries
  • Products developed recognized by Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) as “Game Changing products for a better world”
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Project Conceptualization & Management

Proven technologies & related biomaterials are legally protected by public research institutions in developed countries or by private enterprises. Sathguru’ s ability to converge regional power, capability of understanding technologies and local regulations helped to unlocking the intellectual property available with the developing partner for responsible usage, assimilating technologies, improving access to research infrastructure, product development and deployment, combined regulatory dossier development, training of human capacity and wide scale technology dissemination.

  • Conceptualized a successful public private consortium and managed partners for successful development and commercialization of transgenic products
  • Successfully commercialized 4 varieties of Fruit and Shoot Borer Resistant (FSBR) Eggplant in Bangladesh

Global Collaborations

Sathguru had the arduous task of working with India’s apex body in agriculture ,ICAR along with Indian State Agricultural universities, public research institutions in developed countries and private enterprises for bringing all the stakeholders under the same umbrella of ABSPII. Sathguru’s decade long experience of working with various stakeholders in national and international space helped in appropriate identification and roping in of suitable partners for formation of the ABSP II consortium.

  • Formed biggest consortium of its kind of 75 organizations compromising of public sector academic and research institutes, private partners, US universities, NGO and other active partners
  • Combined delivery power of the consortium ensured wider dissemination of technology for public good

Policy Advocacy

Sathguru’s understanding of different regional policies and regulations and expertise to recommend regionally as well as globally relevant regulations helped in providing necessary advisory to product developing institutes in terms of safety assessment of bioengineered crops and development of a robust regulatory dossier.

  • Promoted a pro-biotech regulatory structure and environment, brought about policy level change to encourage research on tech driven crops by working with ministries and policy advisors
  • Deregulation of 4 varieties of FSBR eggplant in Bangladesh

Research and Technology Management

Sathguru’s capability of understanding technologies, intellectual property rights and local regulations helped in identification and creation of pathways for cross border access to technologies for public good. Sathguru understanding of research capability & mechanism of the developing world helped to enhance research capacity and trigger translational research for development of bioengineered crops.

  • Facilitated the pro-bono technology access from industry to academia for development of FSBR eggplant
  • 16 and 9 varieties of FSBR eggplant have been developed in India and Bangladesh respectively
  • Transgenic events for Late blight Resistant (LBR) Potato and Drought and Salinity Tolerant (DST) Rice have been developed in India and Bangladesh

Monitoring & Evaluation studies

Sathguru’s ability to work effectively and handle large scale projects in the national and international arena with multiple projects partners coupled with inherent understanding of socio economic aspects of rural livelihoods helped to effectively monitor and evaluate the project. Sathguru’s aptitude to closely work on ground with researchers helped to successfully measure the impact of the new technology.

  • Conducted and published socio economic study titled: “Economic and environmental benefits and Costs of Transgenic Crops – Ex-Ante Assessment
  • Post release crop performance monitoring in Bt brinjal farmer fields to measure quantum of impact

Capacity Building

Sathguru’s ability to understand local scenarios, objectively assessing gaps both at institutional and individual levels; as well as delivering knowledge through vast pool of experts across the globe and within institutions helped to enhance capacity of partnering institutes. Sathguru’s model of building sustainability in local partners is the key to ensuring development beyond project period.

  • More than 2000 personnel trained on high end technologies for development of GM crops and its management as well as empowered partners to develop and seek commercialization of transgenic crops

Information, Communication & Technology

Sathguru’s ability in understanding complex science and our expertise in combining it with information technology enables us to develop software tools that revolutionize research and extension. Sathguru’s foresight to develop an strong seed systems in the project region led to conceptualization and development of a software for tracking and monitoring the commercialized seeds of bioengineered crops.

  • Developed and implemented COTS (Computerized Operation Tracing System) software to monitor the production, manage inventory and distribution of Bt brinjal seeds to the farmers

Market & Value Chain Development

Sathguru’s understanding of seed value chains of the region and association with private enterprises helped to design an effective seed delivery and dissemination plan for reaching out transgenic seeds to the widest corners of the country.

  • Ensured successful delivery and adoption of the first genetically modified food crop into Bangladesh market.