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Prime Research on Biotechnology

Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 06-17






Agricultural biotechnology: A panacea to rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa


*Chikaire J and Nnadi FN


Department of Agricultural Extension, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Federal University of Technology Owerri.


*Corresponding author E-mail: bankausta@yahoo.com


Accepted 26th November, 2011


Agriculture is the largest contribution to the economics of many African countries, generation more than half of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for many of these countries. The livelihoods of most rural and low-income communities in these countries are to a large extent based on agriculture. With increase in the global food availability, 35% of the 800 million poor of the world live in Africa, and face food insecurity. Yet agriculture constitutes the primary means of survival and livelihood sustenance for majority of rural dwellers. To solve this problem, technological intervention in agriculture to enhance agricultural development and reduce poverty should be introduced. Agricultural biotechnology, which comprises a wide range of biological disciplines, offers enormous potential to speed up the development of plant varieties with pro-poor traits such as drought tolerance, pest resistance, and higher yields increased nutritional value, among others. It offers opportunity for development of vaccines and diagnostics targeting disease are constrain livestock production as well. If poverty is to fall and the nutritional status of the poor is to improve at current levels of food dependency, the decline in growth rate of cereal yields must be arrested and yield increases in world fields will have to occur. Since yield growth rates achieved with traditional plant breeding and agronomic practices have been declining, the next round of yield increases in agriculture will have to rely on the scientific advances offered by biotechnology, precision turning, and other improved practices. Even though agriculture biotechnology alone will not solve all the problems of the farmers due to socio-cultural and other barriers, we reviewed using available literature, the great progress made in agricultural biotechnology for food security and its linkage with poverty reduction. We opined that if yield increases, the farmers will have enough both, for family consumption and for sale to make money.


Keywords: Agriculture, biotechnology, poverty reduction, productivity, sub-Saharan Africa


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