MATIN QAIM, DETLEF VIRCHOW
Published: 01.09.2000 〉 Heft 9-10/2000 〉 Resort: Articles
Submitted: N. A. 〉 Feedback to authors after first review: N. A. 〉 Accepted: N. A.
Biotechnology alone is no panacea for the world's problems of hunger and poverty. However, genetic engineering in particular has outstanding potential to increase the efficiency of crop improvement. Thus, biotechnology could enhance global food production and availability in a sustainable way. Two case studies from Kenya and Mexico demonstrate that transgenic crops are also very appropriate for agricultural producers and consumers in developing countries. As the entire technology can be packaged into the seed, it can easily be integrated into traditional smallholder farming systems. Except for a few innovative transfer projects, however, the application of biotechnology until now remains concentrated in the industrialized world. Combined with insufficient own scientific and regulatory capacities, the increasing privatisation of international agricultural research and the strengthening of intellectual property rights complicate the access of developing countries to biotechnology. Profound institutional adjustments are essential to ensure that biotechnology does not bypass the poor.