7 December 2021, Dushanbe – Advanced biotechnology, if properly integrated with other technologies, provides powerful tools for the sustainable development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as meeting the food needs of an expanding and increasingly urbanized population. These tools cover plant improvements to raise and stabilize yields, to improve resistance to pests and diseases, and to enhance the nutritional content of foods.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has completed a project financed by the Technical Cooperation Programme to improve the capacity and monitoring system of genetically modified organisms in Tajikistan, aimed at enhancing the national capacity in monitoring and control of GMOs. The project helps ensuring the safety for imported food and local food items as well as facilitating the increasing trade of agricultural products and economic relations between Tajikistan and other countries.

This project was developed upon inquiry of the Committee for Food Security under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan in 2018 as a part of another larger and important project “Strengthening institutions and capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and State Veterinary Inspection Service for policy formulation”, funded by the European Union to support the Government of Tajikistan in the implementation of the Agricultural Reform Program for 2012-2020.

“The rapid development of biotechnology and genetic engineering is making the GMO monitoring system more relevant and crucial in many countries around the world. Tajikistan joined the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2004 and became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2013. As one of the leading agencies in the country providing the support in building the capacity in food safety in Tajikistan, FAO Representation has contributed to advancing the monitoring system of GMOs in Tajikistan,” emphasized Oleg Guchgeldiyev, FAO Representative in Tajikistan. “The results of this project will help to improve the system of earlier detection of GMO containing foods and will contribute to the implementation of the country’s pathway until 2030 to improve the food safety system and open more possibility for exporting locally produced food products.”

FAO in collaboration with the Committee for Food Security organized a series of capacity building events, including training courses on GMO risk assessment, regulations and actions on positive findings, working in compliance with ISO 17025 for national partners, real-time GMO detection and advanced systems. In addition, one mission of the international experts was arranged to Tajikistan to assess existing biosafety capacity at the policy and laboratory levels.

Project consultants also prepared documents such as a Capacity Development Strategy for specialists dealing with GMO, GMO monitoring action plan and other recommendations, manuals for laboratory testing and GMO policy manual, concept proposal for interventions to improve the capacity of monitoring GMOs in Tajikistan.