Crop Biotech Update

FAO Conference Reexamines Role of Biotechnology

March 31, 2010

Increasing both research investment and agricultural productivity must be at the core of any strategy to reduce hunger and poverty. This was the consensus of about 300 participants from 68 countries who converged at a recent biotechnology conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. Organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the conference reexamined the role of biotechnology in the midst of problems related to global food security and climate change.

FAO prepared several background papers on five key sectors: crops, forests, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, and food processing and food safety. Through case studies, the documents determined the current status of biotechnologies in developing countries and explored possible applications. FAO assistant director-general Modibo Traoré said that while there are many cases of successful application of biotechnologies in developing countries, they addressed more the needs of farmers in the developed world. Nevertheless, Shivaji Pandey, director of FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division averred that an important concern was for countries to have comprehensive strategies, policies and regulatory frameworks which facilitate rather than impede technical innovation.

The feature article is at