Bulletin Spring‧Summer, 2008

T he price hikes of rice earlier this year caused public concern and sparked panic buying in Hong Kong. Prices of other food have also risen to new heights globally, prompting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to warn of the looming food crisis in June at the High-Level Conference on World Food Securit y in Rome, 'Food production needs to rise by 50 per cent by the year 2030 to meet the rising demand.' One solution to food shortage is biotechnology. CUHK obtained the approval of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China to set up the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology (CUHK). Researchers of the State Key Laboratory (SKL) will address important agricultural issues such as yield improvement, quality enhancement and stress tolerance by combining the strength of modern biotechnology and the traditional wisdom of breeders and farmers. Findings will be applied to other crops. The SKL will also train high-calibre technologists. The laboratory will tap into Hong Kong's advantages in global networking, international human resources and modern management, and the mainland's strengths in economy, research capacity and natural resources. The SKL will operate independently while partnering with its counterpart at the China Agricultural University, the most prestigious agricultural university in China. Housed in the complex comprising the Science Centre and the Centralized Science Laboratories Building, the laboratory is directed by Prof. Samuel Sun Sai-ming, a pioneer in agricultural biotechnology at CUHK. Taking pride in the establishment of the SKL, Prof. Sun said, 'This is an eloquent testimony to the fact that our efforts and achievements in agrobiotechnology are acknowledged and recognized by the country.' State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology   35