Keywords: agriculture, agricultural innovation, food security, poverty reduction, crop breeding, genetic modification, GM crops, GMOs, biotechnology, economic development, sustainable development, low-income countries, developing countries, sustainablility
Agricultural innovation and biotechnology development towards sustainable goals: can we make it more pro-poor?
Agriculture continues to change – driven by innovation and new technology. Genetics and breeding have revolutionised agricultural systems, and the 'Green Revolution', based on higher yielding varieties of dwarf wheat and rice, is arguably the greatest achievement in food crop development. Gene technologies now offer additional opportunities, where new traits improving crop protection characteristics, post-harvest properties, abiotic stress tolerances and nutritional qualities in genetically improved crops, hold particular prospect. About 8.25 million farmers in 17 countries grew genetically modified crops on 81 million hectares in 2004. Approximately 90% of these farmers were resource-poor. For low-income countries agriculture remains the lead sector for catalysing economic development and poverty alleviation.