National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) aims to transform the agri-food sector into a globally rewarding and sustainable biotechnology-based enterprise through innovative solutions in primary and secondary agriculture,said its spokesperson Dr Jagdeep Singh on Thursday.
The national institute began its operations from a transit campus in Industrial Area,Phase VIII,Mohali this evening. Dr M K Bhan,Secretary,Union Department of Biotechnology,inaugurated the facility.
Part of Indias first agri-food cluster,which will comprise an Agri-Food Biotech Park (ABP) and a Bioprocess Unit (BPU),NABI would develop synergy among knowledge providers and investors in agri-food sector to carry innovations to the marketplace.
Singh said the institute would conduct research on Bt brinjal,a genetically modified version of the common vegetable,to help end the controversy over its proposed introduction in India. Besides,it would also research on other genetically modified food crops,including rice,tomatoes,groundnut,pigeon peas,potato,mustard,sugarcane,soya and okra,which were awaiting approval from the Centres Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC).
A translation unit would be set up in NABI to establish linkages in the region among relevant R&D units,management institutes and small and medium industries. The unit will support,strengthen and promote innovation through several initiatives. Besides supporting R&D research resource units in Punjab and region,it will administer innovation grants in agri-food sector to create innovation eco-system in Punjab and neighbouring states.
The central facilities available at NABI,which would be open for sharing with all the cluster partners in upcoming Knowledge City,Sector 81,Mohali,include genomic,proteomic,metabolomic,plant genotyping,phenotyping and transgenic facilities. Besides containment facilities for transgenic and non-transgenic plants,facility for genetically modified food safety and quality control,validation centre for nutrition/health claims and animal house facility would also be available.
Of the total allocated 130 acres site for the agri-food cluster,NABIs permanent campus would be built in 35 acres within the next two years.