Author(s): Lidder P, Sonnino A
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Abstract In recent years, the land area under agriculture has declined as also has the rate of growth in agricultural productivity while the demand for food continues to escalate. The world population now stands at 7 billion and is expected to reach 9 billion in 2045. A broad range of agricultural genetic diversity needs to be available and utilized in order to feed this growing population. Climate change is an added threat to biodiversity that will significantly impact genetic resources for food and agriculture (GRFA) and food production. There is no simple, all-encompassing solution to the challenges of increasing productivity while conserving genetic diversity. Sustainable management of GRFA requires a multipronged approach, and as outlined in the paper, biotechnologies can provide powerful tools for the management of GRFA. These tools vary in complexity from those that are relatively simple to those that are more sophisticated. Further, advances in biotechnologies are occurring at a rapid pace and provide novel opportunities for more effective and efficient management of GRFA. Biotechnology applications must be integrated with ongoing conventional breeding and development programs in order to succeed. Additionally, the generation, adaptation, and adoption of biotechnologies require a consistent level of financial and human resources and appropriate policies need to be in place. These issues were also recognized by Member States at the FAO international technical conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies for Developing Countries (ABDC-10), which took place in March 2010 in Mexico. At the end of the conference, the Member States reached a number of key conclusions, agreeing, inter alia, that developing countries should significantly increase sustained investments in capacity building and the development and use of biotechnologies to maintain the natural resource base; that effective and enabling national biotechnology policies and science-based regulatory frameworks can facilitate the development and appropriate use of biotechnologies in developing countries; and that FAO and other relevant international organizations and donors should significantly increase their efforts to support the strengthening of national capacities in the development and appropriate use of pro-poor agricultural biotechnologies. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Adv Genet
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development