FAO officials host agriculture biotechnology symposium
To educate West African farmers about those technologies and ways to obtain and use them, representatives from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently hosted a symposium dubbed "The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition."
About 500 people from across the globe, including scientists, government and civil leaders; educators and education administrators; agriculture experts and representatives; and individuals from the private sector, attended the symposium.
"As a neutral forum, FAO has been promoting debates, dialogues and exchanges of information in order to enhance our knowledge of these tools and approaches," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said.
Experts at the forum explained how biotechnology advances have made it possible for farmers to produce larger crop, livestock, fish and tree yields of products that would provide better nutrition that would benefit not only the farmers and their families but also food systems and quality of life in West Africa and the continent.
"We cannot lose sight that biotechnologies, knowledge and innovation must be available, accessible and applicable to family farmers, including small holders," Graziano da Silva said. "We must find the means to remove the barriers that prevent their availability to family farmers."
Specific topics covered at the symposium included fermentation, bio-fertilizers, artificial insemination, vaccines, disease diagnostics, bio-pesticides and molecular markers.
"We want to investigate and give examples of how modern biotechnologies can be compatible with principles of agroecological approaches," Graziano da Silva said.