Applicability of Biotechnology for Achieving SDGs Targets in Bangladesh -Nadira Islam


Technology has a profound relationship with improving the quality of life of people. Not all technologies always bring benefits to the world, so people are working towards environmentally friendly technologies known as biotechnology to keep the economic growth, social development right. According to a contemporary report by Grand View Research, the global biotechnology market is expected to reach 626.1 billion by 2025. According to a 2020 biotechnology industry statistics report, it is clear that biotech is a multi-billion dollar industry. Even as of 2020, the size of the industrial market was more than $100 billion. In order to end poverty and secure the world, the United Nations established some objectives through discussions of heads of government of different countries at a conference on ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, USA on September 25-27, 2015 to ensure that people of all worlds enjoy peace and prosperity.

It covers a total of 17 targets and 169 specific targets. The Government of Bangladesh has already started work to achieve all targets within the stipulated time frame under various schemes including population ratio below international poverty line, malnutrition outbreak, maternal mortality rate, literacy rate, proportion of women in managerial posts, clean and sanitation services, adequate supply of electricity, GDP growth per capita. According to Sustainable Development Report 2021, Bangladesh achieved 63.45% of its desired target as per. However, some issues should be emphasized on achieving the 100% target and the use of biotechnology is one of them. Biotechnology is the use of living organisms for effective production for the welfare of human beings. Genetic engineering, DNA technology, protoplast addition, conservation technology, cell-cult, improvement of germplasm, embryo- transfer, source and protein technical, fermentation, bio-transformation and cell related issues include this biotechnology.

The question may be exactly how biotechnology relates to sustainable development goals. Biotechnology promises to make a great contribution to enable support for improved healthcare, enhanced food security and better supply of sustainable water, more efficient industrial development processes for raw material conversion, forestry and sustainable development of ecosystems. Not all sustainable development goals are related to biotechnology, but most targets are directly and indirectly related as well as rely on biotechnology.

The second goal of sustainable development of hunger-free Bangladesh and can be met only through various agricultural technologies in the agriculture-dominated Bangladesh. Biotechnology has revolutionized agriculture. Biotechnology has no option to meet the food needs of a growing population from depleting land. Biotechnology plays an important role in various fields of agriculture including increase in crop yield, desired breed innovation, pest disease resistant breed innovation, salt-bearing capacity, flood-drought-cold wave tolerance innovation, large-sized fruit, vegetable-fish-animal production, production of millions of saplings in a short span of time, innovation of varieties on demand, and biotechnology in various fields of agriculture are immense. Scientists believe that biotech crops can only make the world hunger free. Organic fertilizers/organic pesticides/bioherbides/biological feed additives/microbial pest control (e.g. bacteria, fungi, yeast) are all part of biotechnology in organic farming. If we talked about an integrated farming for our livelihood purpose, this must work with several biotechnology system.

In order to increase agricultural production, an alternative to the use of the latest and best advanced technology has been developed in Bangladesh in the last few decades using modern hybridization or hybridization methods to develop hybrid crop varieties of various high yielding, immune and other desirable characteristics. Bangladesh became the 29th country to produce GM crops through Brinjal cultivation.
Hydroponic farming is the name of a new possibility in agricultural technology. Soilless gardens are called hydroponic farming, a type of biotechnology. Bangladesh is known as this hydroponic farming step, bore, kandi, floating cultivation, etc. Hydroponic techniques can achieve better than normal farm production, free from variations in natural weather, as well as organic and more nutritious, with only 5% space and irrigation at 5%. Only 2-3% of the water used in field conditions is required to produce the same amount of fodder for hydroponic fodder production. The global hydroponics market was projected to reach USD 395.2 million by 2020.

The third goal of sustainable development is healthy life for all and the sixth goal is clean water and sanitation. The two goals mentioned are pollution free and relate to beautiful environments. And for developing countries like Bangladesh, air, water, soil pollution and not proper waste management have become normal. Various governments worldwide have laid down regulations that facilitate acquisition processes in privileged rights for the invention of reliable and efficient environmental biotechnology. For example, various biotechnologies are used to prevent air pollution in the environment. Plants used for air phytoremediation are likely to reduce air pollutants and improve air quality; they fix carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Plants improve air quality through several processes: they increase moisture by exfoliating water vapour through microscopic leaf pores, and they can passively absorb pollutants on the outer surface of the leaves and in the plant’s root-soil system.

Similarly, there are various biotechnologies to prevent soil and water pollution. As for the World Bank, 1% agricultural land is being lost from the country every year by natural as well as anthropogenic reason. About 219 hectares of land is decreasing every day and soil is losing its fertility due to pollution. In agrarian Bengali country, 75% of irrigation water comes from underground sources only during boro season. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency, Dhaka city alone will have a daily demand of 5 billion litres of water in 2030. The demand across the country will be 50,000 crore litres. Alternative thinking needs to be given to ensure safe water supply at all levels. Recycling waste water is becoming an important strategy for restoring water, nutrients or energy.

The seventh goal of sustainable development is to ensure affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy supply for all. From biofuels to biogas, advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technologies, and waste to energy generation, biotechnology is used. Many future expectations for rapid growth and growth in the industry exist as more research is now being conducted on the higher application of biotechnology. And the mentioned technologies are also related to industrial innovation and infrastructure, the ninth goal of sustainable development. Ensuring safe water supply through waste water treatment through phytoremediation, waste management through biotechnology processes like composting, vermicomposting. Biotechnology finds application areas in the field of solid waste disposal by biological methods in the treatment of waste and composting techniques in waste management.

Climate change is aimed at the thirteenth goal, which is almost impossible without the use of biotechnology. Use of biofuels and biogas instead of fossil fuels, use of organic manure, use of organic pesticides, use of bioremediation to prevent air pollution. Biotechnology plays a role in climate change in many ways such as increasing carbon sequestration i.e. reducing the secretion of carbon dioxide gas. GM (Genetically modified crop) can significantly reduce greenhouse gases emitted in the environment. In 2010 alone, carbon dioxide content was preserved by no-teal biotech crops equivalent to moving 9 million cars off the road for a year, according to a crop life study.
The two goals (14th, 15th) are to achieve these only by preserving ecosystems and using biotechnology for underwater life and above-ground life. Bangladesh has been going through a digital revolution in the last few years. Its economy is growing at 7%, and soon we will be citizens of a middle income country. While these trends in the environmental biotechnology industry have taken root and positively changed society, the current COVID-19 epidemic has forced some projects to shut down. So, the expected explosive growth in 2021 may slow down for some parts.
Environmental biotechnology plays a significant role in protecting biodiversity (plants, animals and humans). Promoting drive efficiency and sustainability for a safe planet has created a variety of innovations. Various government agencies, public and private institutions are investing mainly in environmental biotechnology today. For example, its future lies in the existence of opportunities for improvement.

Author is an Associate Editor of The Environment Review. E-mail: