February 12, 2007
Brazil to invest US$4.7 billion in biotechnology
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a decree to invest BRL 1 billion (US$4.7 billion) every year over the next decade in biotechnology.
Brazil has 20 percent of the world's biodiversity and a arge forest area, he said during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Brasilia. The policy, he feels would help Brazil realize this potential.
This annual investment would be used to fund research and development of a new strain of sugarcane that is resistant to droughts, a vaccine for rabies and other projects to fuel growth in agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industries.
By developing new cane varieties, Brazil plans to expand crops into areas that do not receive as much rain as the central south region of the country, where 85 percent of Brazil's sugar and ethanol are produced.
Development Minister Luiz Furlan pointed out that the government would contribute 60 percent of the investment, including funds from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), and the private sector would provide the rest.