Knowledge for Development

Biotechnology

It is widely accepted that investments in science, technology and innovation are essential for economic development. The rapid changes that are taking place due to advances in biotechnology and information and communication technologies (ICTs) support this view. Although new scientific discoveries and technologies could provide countries with a competitive advantage and address some major problems (such as improved varieties of plants resistant to pests and diseases), their adoption is frequently not without controversy due to differing viewpoints and perceptions of the potential risks involved. This edition of the dossier addresses the issue of biotechnology and the Cartagena Protocol.

Hortivar is FAO's database on performances of horticulture cultivars in relation to agro-ecological conditions, cultivation practices, the occurrence of pests and diseases and timing of the production. It covers six categories of horticultural crops: fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers, ornamentals, mushrooms, herbs and condiments. 13/04/2012
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Biotechnology, embraces both life sciences and engineering, and has been used for centuries to produce food and to solve health and environmental problems. It is widely accepted that modern advances in biotechnology hold great promise for addressing key challenges in agriculture, human health and the environment. However, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries lack the resources to make the investments needed in research and product and process development and innovation to harness biotechnology for sustainable social and economic development and wealth creation. Biotechnology when exploited appropriately can improve the collective welfare of the population. ACP countries must act now to avoid being left behind in yet another technological revolution. Therefore, ACP experts are calling on governments in the ACP region to invest more in science and technology and more specifically biotechnology if the region is to be assured of a better future. 01/11/2005
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A consortium of 22 partners located in 15 EU countries will investigate genetically modified plants (GMPs) and their eventual impacts in the natural environment. The scientific activities will consist of case studies of maize and potato, the two GM crops currently approved for cultivation in the EU, and surveys in non-GM agro-ecosystems. The final outcome will include a network of EU representative sites for pre-market risk assessment and long-term monitoring studies, a set of standardised testing methods and a geographical information system integrating relevant datasets, protocols and tools to help EU decision-makers. (via agro.biodiver.se, 17/03/2011) 10/04/2012
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The challenge: Food production and poverty reduction remain the primary goals of efforts to advance socio-economic development in Africa and the well-being of its people. The scope for increasing food production through area expansion, the use of agro-chemicals and irrigation is limited. Intensification of production holds the key for Africa's future. The challenge is to develop technologies for intensifying agriculture for resource-poor farmers that use minimal external inputs in environments that are already bedevilled by so many biotic and abiotic stresses. Modern biotechnology has been identified as the most potent technology for rescuing Africa from the effects of food shortages, just as the 'green revolution' did for the countries of Southeast Asia in the 1970s. 27/12/2004
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