Biotechnology not the final solution for food insecurity and poverty problems

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Washington, Oct 8 : Scientists have determined that biotechnology is not the final solution for the food insecurity and poverty problems in Africa and other developing countries.

According to a report in ENN (Environmental News Network), scientists made the statement at the first All Africa Congress on Biotechnology in Nairobi, Kenya, recently.

"This is no silver bullet to the food insecurity in Africa and the rest of the developing world, but it must be looked at as one of the most important tools that will contribute to increased food production and thus, poverty reduction," said Clive James, chairman of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.

"We have to take the best of conventional technologies like no-till or low-till farming and combine it with biotechnology for increased food production," he added.

James added that ensuring adequate food production for Africa will come out of a package that includes other components like population stabilisation and fair food distribution systems.

"Biotechnology will require other tools, like the right infrastructure, policy and legal framework, to work", said Ed Rege of the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute.

He added that scientists also need to work out how new biotechnology can complement existing agricultural and health techniques.

For the Africa Union's Sarah Olembo, biotechnology is only one of many issues that need to be addressed to improve sustainable agriculture in Africa.

"For instance, we need to empower farmers, especially women who form the bulk of smallholder farmers in Africa, to acquire inputs like fertilizers and access to land if the products of biotechnology are to thrive," she said.

According to Paul Gwakisa of Tanzania's Sokoine University, "Today, you can't talk about an animal vaccine or diagnosis without biotechnology, but you have to put in place infrastructure to contain possible disasters from this technology that we may not know of yet."

ANI

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