Skip to main content

Agricultural biotechnologies necessary to defeat hunger, poverty in Asia-Pacific (downtoearth)

As climate change threatens food production worldwide, smallholder farmers need improved access to agricultural biotechnologies to ensure nutrition security and fight poverty in poorer regions of the world, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday.

According to the FAO, family farmers produce about 80 per cent of the world’s food and due to the variety of food grown by them, contribute significantly to food security. Last year during an international symposium, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said, “We cannot lose sight that biotechnologies, knowledge and innovation must be available, accessible and applicable to family farmers, including small holders.”

Continuing in the same vein, the United Nations food agency is now urging Asia-Pacific countries to consider both low-tech and high-tech solutions present in the biotechnology toolbox. The agency is also urging countries to consider biofertilisers or biopesticides in crops and trees, artificial insemination and other reproductive technologies in livestock as well as DNA-based tools to diagnose diseases in farmed fish.

“Gaining greater access to, and utilising, these various forms of agricultural biotechnologies can contribute to greater food security for the region and increased profits for smallholders, who produce the vast majority of the food we eat each day,” Kundhavi Kadiresan, assistant director-general and FAO regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, says. If this region is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, countries need to look at safe, evidence-based form of food production and ensure that the benefits of science can reach smallholders, she adds. Earlier, in an interview given to Down To Earth, she said meeting the zero hunger challenge is particularly important in Asia as more than 60 per cent of the world’s undernourished people live here.

“These discussions are very timely because there is significant divergence among countries and within the sub-regions of Asia-Pacific in the levels of adoption of relevant agricultural biotechnologies as well as in their capacities to develop them and in the degree of support available in each country which enables them to be developed and used,” says Samy Gaiji, head of FAO’s research and extension unit.

A lot of emphasis is placed on smallholders as they are vulnerable, resource-poor individuals with very weak coping mechanisms, FAO expert Chikelu Mba, told Down To Earth last year.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cloud seeding

Demonstrating the function of the flare rack that carries silver iodide for cloud-seeding through an aircraft. 
Water is essential for life on the earth. Precipitation from the skies is the only source for it. India and the rest of Asia are dependent on the monsoons for rains. While the South West Monsoon is the main source for India as a whole, Tamil Nadu and coastal areas of South Andhra Pradesh get the benefit of the North East Monsoon, which is just a less dependable beat on the reversal of the South West Monsoon winds.

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…