FAO meeting on agricultural biotechnologies to be held in Mexico

09:59, February 23, 2010      

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday that the conference on agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries will be held in Mexico in early March.

The developing countries are currently facing growing food insecurity, a situation exacerbated by climate change that could worsen the living conditions of millions of people, said the Rome-based UN food agency.

The conference, which will be held in the city of Guadalajara on March 1-4, will discuss how agricultural biotechnologies can help the developing countries, the FAO said in a press release.

The meeting will also explore opportunities and partnerships to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to choose and use appropriate biotechnologies, the FAO said.

"It is imperative that agricultural biotechnologies should also be used to address the needs of small-holders, fishers and forest-dependent people in developing countries to face food insecurity and climate change," the FAO said.

Agricultural biotechnologies can be applied for a range of different purposes, but the public debate on biotechnology has largely focused on genetically modified organisms and has neglected other biotechnologies, many of which can be highly relevant for food and agriculture in developing countries, the UN agency said.

As research in agricultural biotechnologies is primarily being carried out by the private sector in wealthy countries, the products being developed are aimed at meeting the needs of farmers in the developed world, said the FAO.

Therefore, the UN agency holds that a change in direction is needed to focus on small-holders in the developing countries.

Source: Xinhua
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