Despite interest in biotechnology by Venezuelan researchers and farmers, the lack of implementing regulations hinders commercial adoption.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: VE1207
Agricultural Biotechnology Annual
David W. Cottrell
Interest expressed by farmers and research being done by scientists to improve agricultural output and
the environment via biotechnology has not resulted in a legal framework for either testing or
commercialization, holding down domestic output and import potential. Most research done involves
molecular genetics. Many projects have been halted since 2006 and no change in this situation is
expected in the short term.
Section I. Executive Summary:
Biotechnology in Venezuela is at a crossroads. Despite interest in biotechnology by Venezuelan
researchers and farmers to meet growing food demand and protect the environment, the lack of
implementing regulations hinders commercial adoption, technological progress, and trade. Domestic
laws provide a potential basic legal framework for agricultural biotechnology, but the regulatory system
is currently imprecise. The current Venezuelan government (GBRV) opposes the marketing or
development of biotech products but some universities continue to do research and development despite
Section II. Plant Biotechnology Trade and Production:
There are no commercial biotechnology crops under development in Venezuela, and the GBRV has not
granted approval for planting biotechnology crops from any source. There is significant interest by
research centers and universities in developing biotechnology. The majority of biotechnology research
is in fact molecular genetics, as well as diagnostics of animal viral diseases. The research is mainly done
by government institutions and universities, with minimal private sector involvement.
Section III. Plant Biotechnology Policy:
Agricultural biotechnology is the responsibility of Venezuela’s Ministry of Environment and Natural
Resources (MARN). MARN’s “Dirección de Bioseguridad y Biocomercio” is in charge of
administering and regulating genetic resources, biotechnology security, and encouraging related
activities that enhance the use of biodiversity. Among the specific functions of this office are:
Evaluate all issues related to biotechnology security as well as traditional knowledge associated
to biological diversity
Coordinate activities of the access committee of genetic resources.
Issue genetic resource access contracts
As noted above, work done in Venezuela to date is not specifically gene insertion or modifications, as
there are no laws that permit it.
Section IV. Plant Biotechnology Marketing Issues:
Despite the government’s reluctance to allow marketing or development of biotech, Venezuelan
agricultural producers continue to express their need for and acceptance of biotech products. The
Federation of Agricultural Producers forecasts that domestic production could double in two years if the
regulatory framework for biotech would establish the free use of biotech seeds. Other producer groups
have criticized the government for not allowing the use of agricultural biotechnology to the detriment of
domestic production. Consumers have not voiced any significant concerns about biotechnology or
products containing biotechnology raw materials.
Section V. Plant Biotechnology Capacity Building and Outreach:
There are no U.S. government funded capacity building or outreach activities conducted in Venezuela
that relate to agricultural biotechnology. In 2005, the United Nations Environmental Program allocated
funds to increase public awareness of agricultural biotech and have a consensus among the public and
private sector regarding the national biotechnology framework.
Section VI. Animal Biotechnology:
There are no animal biotechnology events under development in Venezuela, and the government has not
granted approval for animal biotechnology from any source. There is significant interest by research
centers and universities in developing biotechnology. The use of animal biotechnology techniques is
less developed; use has been restricted almost exclusively to the diagnosis of diseases, mainly viral in
Section VII. Author Defined:
National and International Regulations Related To Biological Diversity, Subscribed And
Approved By Venezuela
• Convention for the Protection of Flora, Fauna and Natural Scenic Beauties of America (October 12th,
1940, Washington D.C., United States).
• Convention concerning Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Habitat of Aquatic Birds
(February 2nd, 1971 Ramsar, Iran).
• Biodiversity Agreement. Plant Variety (Cartagena Agreement), Decision, 21/10/1993, No. 345.
Common Provisions on the Protection of the Rights of Breeders of New Plant Varieties
• Biological Diversity Law – Venezuelan Official Gazette Nr. 5.468, dated May 24, 2000.