Biotech Updates

Overcoming Smallholder Challenges with Biotechnology

November 6, 2013

A new publication from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Biotechnologies at Work for Smallholders: Case Studies from Developing Countries in Crops, Livestock and Fish, asserts that biotechnologies can help smallholders to improve their livelihoods and food security. It has19 case studies from India, China, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Cuba, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand. It describes realities and experiences of applying biotechnology research to smallholder production of bananas, cassava, rice, livestock, shrimp and more, in different developing countries.

Biotechnologies at Work for Smallholders offers lessons which can be used to inform and assist policy makers in making decisions on programs involving biotechnologies. On top of the list was the need for national political commitment to improving smallholder productivity and livelihoods; financial support from non-governmental sources to supplement national efforts; and, long-term national investment in both people and infrastructure linked to science and technology.

"With the right institutional and financial arrangements, governments, research institutions and organizations can help bring biotechnologies to smallholders, improving their capacity to cope with challenges like climate change, plant and animal diseases, and the overuse of natural resources," said Andrea Sonnino, Chief of FAO's Research and Extension Unit.

For more information, read the FAO news release at The book is available for downloaded at