This 300-page edited volume from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) arose from the first stage of an African multistakeholder dialogue that was convened in 2003 by IFPRI and the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Harare, Zimbabwe. It brought together senior policy-makers, scientists and representatives of key organisations in roundtable discussions on biotechnology and its implications for food security in southern Africa.

The book presents background material that was prepared for the roundtable. The papers address the new and unfamiliar choices facing policy makers in five key areas: intellectual property rights, biosafety, trade, food safety and consumer choice, and public research. Other chapters deal with political, ethical and policy issues and the mechanics of multistakeholder processes. The editors round off the book with chapters that summarise the issues at stake and draw together the lessons arising from the dialogue.

This readable, informative book and the initiative behind it represent an important African effort to crystalise the policy dilemmas facing decision-makers in relation to agricultural biotechnology. It will be useful to anyone wanting to understand how these policy debates are evolving.


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