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Monday, February 22, 2016

Expert says agro-biotechnologies essential in fighting hunger

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) José Graziano da Silva has said that agro-biotechnologies are essential in fight against hunger, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Addressing the opening session of the FAO-hosted international symposium on "The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition the need for a broad portfolio of tools and approaches to eradicate hunger, fight every form of malnutrition and achieve sustainable agriculture." 

"As a neutral forum, FAO has been promoting debates, dialogues and exchanges of information in order to enhance our knowledge of these tools and approaches," the DG said.

The symposium, de Silva said, focuses mainly on the broad range of biotechnologies that could result in yield increases, better nutritional qualities, and improved productivities of crops, livestock, fish and trees benefitting family farmers and their food systems, nutrition and livelihoods. 

These, he said, include many "low tech" applications, for example fermentation processes, bio-fertilizers, artificial insemination, the production of vaccines, disease diagnostics, the development of bio-pesticides and the use of molecular markers in developing new varieties and breeds.

"We cannot lose sight that biotechnologies, knowledge and innovation must be available, accessible and applicable to family farmers including small holders," Graziano da Silva told symposium participants. "We must find the means to remove the barriers that prevent their availability to family farmers.

The symposium,he said, is not about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pointing out that agricultural biotechnologies are much broader than GMOs.

About 500 scientists, representatives of government, civil society, the private sector, academia, farmers' associations and cooperatives are participated in the three day event.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE 
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