alexa Transfer Of Biotechnology Innovations: Implications To Extension Systems
ISSN: 2168-9881

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3rd International Conference on Agriculture & Horticulture
October 27-29, 2014 Hyderabad International Convention Centre, India

Shaik N Meera, S Arun Kumar, S M Balachandran, M Seshu Madhav, P Muthuraman and V Ravindra Babu
Posters: Agrotechnol
DOI: 10.4172/2168-9881.S1.012
There is no other technology that has been debated over so extensively as biotechnology. Biotechnology is often used to refer to genetic engineering (GE) technology, however many of us may not be aware that the term encompasses a wider range of technologies starting from low end biotechnology such as vermi-compost and several bio-fertilizer/bio-pesticides to high end tools like genetic engineering. Nevertheless, the term biotechnology is synonymous with studies at molecular level. For instance, it could be genetic modification (GM) technology, Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) etc., Genetic Engineering is only one of the technologies under the broad umbrella of Biotechnology. Biotechnology has applications in four major industrial areas, viz., health care (medical), crop production and agriculture ( agricultural), non food (industrial) utilization of crops and other products (e.g. biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels), and environmental applications. As far as agricultural biotechnology is concerned, despite rapid adoption of GM cotton, information voids still exist among farming communities. In addition to understanding the benefits and constraints of new varieties, farmers need to understand the economic implications of adopting new technology, the importance of biosafety measures outlined in conditional approvals for some new varieties and any intellectual property requirements related to specific planting material. Accurate knowledge and understanding of biotechnology is required to enable food chain stakeholders to influence the direction of research and the introduction of new biotech crops. In the case of crop and livestock production the primary users are farmers, who also constitute a large group of Indian consumers. Discussions with Indian ministries in 2004 identified the need for information sharing at farmer level in order to strengthen informed adoption of new biotechnology products. Officials indicated that an effective way to achieve this would be to improve state extension service with respect to understanding of agricultural biotechnology and empower these practitioners to take information into farming communities. India has a well-established extension network with 1, 10,000 extension workers, 672 Krishi Vigyan Kendra extension centers and various training institutions in the public sector. The private sector has an established network of dealers and extension officers active among farmers (Sulaiman, 2003). Together public and private extension services play an important role in disseminating information about new products to farmers. These networks generally provide objective information and can help to clarify questions and misconceptions that arise regarding new technology. As such they are uniquely positioned to communicate biotechnology information to consumers and farmers (Fritz et al., 2004). Extension must help integrate biotechnology into total farming systems. Extension can provide farmers with accurate, unbiased information on biotechnology. They can provide specialists and researchers with information on farmers' needs, as well as feedback on the effectiveness of new technologies. Extension can help ensure that researchers develop the most environmentally, socially, and economically sound technologies. By being proactive and taking a leadership role in assessing and transferring biotechnology, Extension can maintain the confidence of farming communities and remain on the cutting edge of technology. Just as Extension's educational efforts in biotechnology can influence the future of farming, biotechnology will also influence the future of Extension. Biotechnology has already generated controversy over ethical issues and environmental release of genetically altered organisms. Like all new technologies, biotechnologies will have both positive (intended) and negative (unintended) consequences. The challenge is to maximize the benefits, while minimizing negative impacts will decide the success or otherwise of extension systems.
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