Biotech Updates

Biotechnologies Should Benefit Poor Farmers in Poor Countries

March 5, 2010

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its recently-concluded conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries in Mexico has called for a new approach to agricultural research through the use of modern and conventional biotechnologies that will benefit the poor farmers in poor countries. Modibo Traore, FAO Assistant Director General, emphasized that "Modern and conventional biotechnologies provide potent tools for the agriculture sector, including fisheries and forestry. But there is lack of appropriate and useful technologies, policies, technical capacities, and requisite infrastructure for their development, evaluation and deployment in most developing countries."

The conference reviewed past successes and failures of biotechnologies across the different food and agricultural sectors in developing countries. It was also an opportunity for the FAO to call for new approaches to agricultural research and development to support the wider and wiser use of agricultural biodiversity to promote development and improve food security. This will require greater involvement of farmers, institutions and communities, policies, institutional support, and investments in human and physical capital and in-country capacity building.

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