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The State of Food and Agriculture 2003-2004

Agricultural Biotechnology - Meeting the Needs of the Poor?

image of The State of Food and Agriculture 2003-2004

The potential of agricultural biotechnology, especially transgenic crops, to meet the needs of the poor, is explored in this report. An analysis of the socio-economic impacts of technological change in agriculture is discussed, and the safety of transgenic crops for human health and the environment is examined.

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Capacity building for biotechnology in food and agriculture

The case studies examined in Chapter 4 revealed that small farmers in developing countries can benefit from transgenic crops, as they have done in the past from other productivity-enhancing technological innovations. However, these gains are not automatic. Nations need adequate policy and institutional/technical capacity to deliver them and farmers need access to suitable innovations on affordable terms. Unlike the Green Revolution, which was based on an explicit strategy of the international transfer of improved technology as a free public good, almost all transgenic crop varieties and most other agricultural biotechnology innovations are being created and disseminated by the private sector. Chapter 7 addressed some strategies to increase public and private research and partnerships that focus on developing technologies to address the problems of the poor.

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