Viewpoint: Let’s make sure smallholder farmers benefit from new breeding techniques

| | May 29, 2018
x cb
Image : American Sorghum
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Critics argue that agro-biotechnology, and in particular genetic engineering, only provides large multinational corporations with the means to continue their dominance of the global food system, disadvantaging smallholder farmers, and ultimately — consumers. Proponents argue that agro-biotechnology, like the genome editing CRISPR-Cas9 system, should be made more accessible to smallholder farmers who will benefit from advanced breeding efforts in their own countries, using these precise tools to improve the crops of most interest to them.

The hope is that these new effective breeding tools could enable new collaboration, where researchers work hand-in-hand with farmers to develop crops and livestock more resistant to diseases and droughts, adapted to specific local needs. In South America, for example, researchers could assist potato farmers across the Andes Mountains create crops more tolerant to climate change, while at the same time protecting the region’s highly valuable agrobiodiversity.

And so the future is already here, but it’s not evenly distributed and we’re not ready. This is why we need to step up capacity-building efforts and strengthen and broaden the innovation agenda, enabling the benefits of modern biosciences to reach smallholder farmers in the southern hemisphere.

Editor’s note: Ivar Virgin is a senior researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute

Read full, original post: GM crops offer hope in hotter times

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend