Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom recently launched South Africa’s Bio-Economy strategy.

The Bio-Economy Strategy shifts the focus from developing the biotechnology sector to developing a bio-economy.
Bio-technology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products. Biotechnology has been used in South Africa in the way of environmental sustainability. It is being used as a way to reduce chemical pollution in GHG emissions in industry as well as to reduce water, soil and air pollution. The development of bio-fuel and genetically modified crops has also contributed towards a more sustainable environment.

According to Hanekom, the bio-economy strategy takes the National Biotechnology Strategy of 2001 to the next level. The aims is to create an enabling environment that will allow government departments, industry, venture capital and other stakeholders to move forward with initiatives that will be able to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities of the future.

The strategy may involve the technological and non-technological use of natural resources, such as animals, plant biodiversity, micro-organisms and minerals, to contribute to economic growth and improved quality of life. It proposes strong linkages with sister departments, industry and other stakeholders, to ensure the relevance of the Department of Science and Technology’s initiatives.

“As a department we are excited about this milestone, and we look forward to joining hands with industry and other role players in making South Africa’s bio-economy sector a force to be reckoned with,” says Hanekom.