Table of Contents

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Elgar original reference

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.

Chapter 31: Biotechnology and food security

Calestous Juma, Pedro Conceição and Sebastian Levine

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, biotechnology, environmental sociology, innovation and technology, biotechnology


The application of new technologies has played a crucial role in reducing food insecurity, as reflected in 'Green Revolutions' that were adopted across Asia and Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s. But many challenges persist, especially as the gains from these revolutions are decelerating in many parts of the world and large regions, notably in Africa, did not reap many of its benefits. To cope with the rising global population, ecological degradation and demand for improved nutrition, the international community is exploring new avenues to enhance food security by harnessing the power of existing and emerging technologies, especially biotechnology. This chapter argues that advances in biotechnology hold promise in meeting new and persistent food security challenges, especially in developing countries where the majority of poor and hungry live. The chapter stresses that biotechnology should be viewed as a set of tools that can be applied to address specific challenges and that this can only be done effectively if placed in a wider policy context that advances food security. It also notes that biotechnology should be viewed as complementary to other approaches and not a substitute. The focus should be to enlarge the toolbox for addressing food security challenges, not to reduce it. The chapter is divided into four sections. The first section provides a brief overview of the global significance of addressing food security and the growing political interest in the matter.

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