In many developing countries economic growth and increased income-earning opportunities, especially for the rural poor, depend on the performance of the agriculture sector. Over the last 20 years, improved crop varieties have accounted for an estimated half of agricultural productivity improvements. As we face global population growth, increased competition for land and water resources from industrial and urban growth, climate change, and the need to protect the environment, we need new solutions to increasing agricultural productivity to combat hunger and poverty. Agricultural biotechnology offers an important tool, which along with traditional breeding, new technologies, and improved resource management, enhances crop, livestock, and aquaculture productivity.
This increases the incomes of small-scale agricultural producers in an environmentally sustainable way by:
- Reducing pesticide use and excess fertilizer use that pose threats to biodiversity and human health
- Battling damaging plant diseases and pests by developing new resistant crop varieties
- Making widely grown food crops more resilient and stress tolerant, thereby helping farmers adapt to a changing climate
- Enhancing the nutritional quality of key staple crops to counter malnutrition and improve the health of farmers and consumers
- Enabling better livestock disease diagnosis and the development of more effective livestock vaccines