Bid to generate value from genetic resources

Muscat, SEPT 18 – Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Centre (OAPGRC) will be organising a workshop on Saturday for introducing participants to the Manafa’a Ideathon 2019 that will take place from September 27 to 28. Manafa’a Ideathon is a two-day event that is meant to help Oman’s talent respond to the center’s annual challenge to develop genetic resource based businesses. Applications to take part in Manafa’a 2019 were received from governorates across the Sultanate and fifteen teams have now been selected to take part in the ideathon and develop their ideas. This year’s participants will be developing eight plant and three animal genetic resources based business concepts with two marine life and two microbial world proposals also being taken forward.
Dr Nadiya al Saady, OAPGRC Executive Director, said, “Manafa’a is a great learning experience for those that take part but its purpose is absolutely serious. We want to encourage responsible use of Oman’s genetic resources — our plants, animals, marine life and microbial world — to create value for society and to contribute to the diversification of the economy. Our treasure chest of genetic resources can offer the world new medicines and therapies. On top of this the genetic make-up of Oman’s hardy, heat and drought resistant wild varieties of animals and crops offering hope for alleviating the threats to food security presented by climate change.”
“But that’s not all. For our young people, our genetic wealth holds opportunities for business creation and the generation of lasting and rewarding jobs with fields such as pharmaceuticals, organic cosmetics, food, environmental engineering, alternative energy, and eco-tourism showing particular promise. Through Manafa’a we hope to create the successful conservation-minded enterprises that will open the eyes of many other innovators and entrepreneurs to the rich potential our genetic resources hold.”
Manafa’a Ideathon 2019 is mainly sponsored by Oman LNG Development Foundation, Oman Fisheries Company and Meethaq Islamic Bank that will be the Manafa’a financial sponsor. In addition, Sultan Qaboos University will be partnering with OAPGRC through The Innovation & Technology Transfer Center along with Outward Bound Oman.
Thanking the sponsors and partners for their backing of Manafa’a and involvement in helping unlock the business potential of the ideathon participants, Dr Nadiya al Saady said, “The Manafa’a Team is gratified by the confidence of these eco-aware companies and organisations that have placed in the value of genetic resources as the foundation for successful business.”
For those who are interested to find out more about Manafa’a 2019, they can visit https://oapgrc.gov.om/Pages/MANAFI.aspx or follow @oapgrc.