Keywords: agriculture, Africa, industrial biotechnology, food security, productivity, constraints, opportunities, agricultural biotechnology, developing countries
Industrial biotechnology applications for food security in Africa: opportunities and challenges
Industrial biotechnology promises to help improve food security in Africa by providing alternative farm inputs for crop and livestock production, improving the processing of animal and plant products (and remains) and providing an additional market for farmers. Such innovations could diversify rural economies, create jobs and promote the development of environmentally and economically sustainable agro-industries. However, some of the challenges, such as limited international markets for agricultural products, high tariffs on semi-processed and processed exports, the weak local scientific base, lack of investment and diplomacy skills among others, threaten to limit the impact of biotechnology in Africa. This paper explores a number of these issues from an African perspective and seeks to highlight the options Africa could adopt to realise the benefits.