Published 1998 by NABC.

Biotechnology promises to use modern molecular genetics to solve agricultural problems dealing with plant and animal stress in challenged environments, but it has not yet provided significant solutions. Important characteristics such as, heat, cold, salt, and drought tolerance may be multigene traits that will require more sophistication in producing useful transgenics. In addition, reduced funding for public research is shifting the focus towards industry funded proprietary research, with little work done on crop characteristics important in the developing world.

Those involved in agricultural biotechnology research must develop communication strategies that show that biotechnology is simply a set of useful tools and to inform the public on progress in different area. The key to acceptance of the use of biotechnology is safety and there will have to be a balance between risks and the ability to feed the world. The perspectives of organic agriculture on biotechnology is that it would pick and choose between various biotechnologies depending on the particular trait.

The workshop discussions revolved around three main issues:

  • Sustainable agriculture has a variety of meanings depending on the specific location and the nature of the agricultural enterprise,
  • Diversity has great variability in meaning depending upon the specific case, and
  • Advances in agricultural biotechnology will continue to suffer from the difficulties of educating an intelligent but scientific illiterate population that increasingly gets information in 30-second sound bites.

Recent Submissions

  • Regulation and Economic Concerns for Canada’s Biotechnology Industry 

    Furtan, W. H.; Mayer, Holly; Hart, Frank (NABC, 1997)
    Canadian farmers need to be concerned with developments in the field of biotechnology. As they will be using and producing the products, their economic livelihood depends on the orderly regulation of this sector. To be ...
  • Regulatory and economic aspects of accessing international markets 

    Gadsby, Margaret (NABC, 1997)
    Agricultural biotechnology holds great potential for feeding a hungry world and reducing the strain on the planet’s environment. The products of agricultural biotechnology will circle the globe as exports and imports. ...
  • Biotechnology and social issues in rural agricultural communities: Identifying the issues 

    Gertler, Michael E. (NABC, 1997)
    Biotechnology researchers are working in the university-industrial complex and seek public support for an agenda driven by cold cash and corporate competition. Expensive and ethically challenged research and development ...
  • Farm knowledge: machines versus biotechnology 

    Stirling, Bob (NABC, 1997)
    Local farm knowledge is being eroded and, given its relevance to the viability of farm communities, ways have to be found to revive it. Young people often leave farming communities and with them this source of population, ...
  • Consumer perspective 

    Walter, Rick (NABC, 1997)
    The international discussion, regulation and public opinion about biotechnology is extremely diverse and the discussion must be moved forward with great focus and by coordination the efforts of all involved.

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