Agri-biotech to be focus of the meet; Industry targets 30-40 pc growth

Our Bureau

Bangalore Bio has become a national brand and international delegates have been growing each year.

Bangalore, June 5

The sixth issue of Bangalore Bio, the annual biotechnology show of the Karnataka Government, kicks off on Wednesday on the promising note of 30-40 per cent growth rate for the domestic biotech industry.

At this rate, the industry is set to touch a turnover of Rs 6,750 crore ($1.5 billion) this year compared to Rs 4,500 crore ($1 billion) last year, according to its organisers.

Cabinet nod

On Sunday, the Karnataka Cabinet cleared two phases of the 106-acre biotechnology park, three days ahead of the event being held during June 7-9.

Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson of the State Biotechnology Vision Group, said the industry was concerned that only 25 per cent of the two-lakh-odd biotech M.Sc. students were up to the mark.

Helix structure

The biotech park, Helix, is estimated to cost Rs 103 crore and will initially house IBAB (the Institute of Bioinformatics & Applied Biotechnology) and the proposed Centre for Human Genetics (CHG). It will also have an incubation centre and a patent cell while the third part of the park may be decided in a month, according to Dr Anup Pujari, Principal Secretary, State Department of IT and Biotechnology.

The first two phases are estimated to cost around Rs 70 crore and the Union Department of Biotechnology has granted Rs 11 crore towards the park, he said at a curtain-raiser announcement of the event.

For the first time, agri-biotechnology would be the focus of the conference. June 9 would be Agri-biotech Day at the event focussing on transgenic crops, functional foods, nutraceuticals, bioenergy and biofuels.

According to Dr K.K. Narayanan, President of the biotechnology body ABLE and Managing Director of agri-biotech research company Metahelix, legitimate transgenic seeds could potentially cover 10 million acres and the biotech seeds market could be worth Rs 1,500-2,500 crore. "Globally, the growth of GM crop is pegged at 11 per cent, whereas in India it grew by 160 per cent," he said.

Biotech Vision

The country's Biotech Vision 2010 of reaching $10 billion (Rs 45,000 crore) in revenue and providing employment to 1 million people is well on track. Bangalore Bio has become a national brand and international delegates have been growing each year, Ms Mazumdar Shaw said. This year, delegates are coming from the US, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 6, 2006)
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