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Summary Document of the FAO e-mail conference: What should be the role and focus of biotechnology in the agricultural research agendas of developing countries?

This summarises an electronic conference moderated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on agricultural biotechnology research and the needs of developing countries. The conference considered a number of questions that are detailed in a related background document.

The key conclusions were:

  • The agricultural research agenda of developing countries should be based on a "bottom-up" approach defined by the needs of domestic communities in those countries.
  • Agricultural biotechnology research should complement research on conventional technologies. Participants agreed that it is important to allocate resources to non-GMO biotechnology research in developing countries, but opinions diverged about using scarce research resources for GMO research.
  • Research collaborations, both within and between countries, are fundamental to science in developing countries, but public-private sector collaborations should be treated with caution to ensure that research geared to the needs of the poor is not ignored.