Biotech Updates

Public Sector Critical in Delivering Benefits of Pro-Poor Agri-Biotech Applications

February 9, 2007

There is a growing gap between private and public investments in agricultural research. As the global investment trend by the private sector is increasing, those from the public sector have remain unchanged or has decreased, says David Spielman of the International Food Policy Research Institute in his review paper published by the Food Policy journal.

Agricultural biotechnology offers more possibilities in increasing food and feed production than the Green Revolution. However, Spielman believes that for ag-biotech to help alleviate poverty, the leadership role of the public sector should be strengthened, along with increasing partnerships, and new policy and organizational mechanisms for delivering products of the technology.

Other aspects where the current ag-biotech institutional design can improve include knowledge exchange, tackling market constraints, and addressing shortages of funding and capacity in national research systems. The improvements in the institutions that govern the research activities of public organizations is just one way of helping remove impediments to pro-poor technological change in agriculture. The private sector should also be encouraged to be involved in more pro-poor research, Spielman concluded.

The review paper can be accessed by journal subscribers at