If you think agricultural biotechnology just means genetically modified organisms and Monsanto breathing down your neck, think again. SciDev.net offers an overview of non-GM biotechnologies useful to farmers in the developing world. The listing of the methods and their benefits is a useful reminder that biotechnology means more than fiddling with DNA.
This briefing seeks to help fill this information gap by summarising the characteristics of the most common non-GM biotechnologies that are being developed and applied to crop improvement in the developing world.
Drawing on the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) database on Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (BioDeC), it focuses on four types of non-GM biotechnology: tissue culture, molecular markers, diagnostic techniques and microbial products.
When I was young we had a small farm where we recycled everything, used no herbicides, insecticides or artificial fertilizers. AND we actually made a profit. Farmers today are becoming serfs to the big corporations, the soil is no longer a sweet material to make things grow but just something for the plants to stand up in. I wished that the biotechnology and other enviromentally friendly technologies being developed so successfully in the Third World would spread to the West instead of us persuading them that we have all the answers .
See also our previous post and comment on broad opportunities for nanotech and biotech in the developing world. It will be interesting to see in which areas the developing world winds up leading progress, spurred by direct and urgent needs.