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    The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology in Alleviating Food Insecurity in Ethiopia

    Desta, Selamawit (2009) The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology in Alleviating Food Insecurity in Ethiopia. Research and Perspectives on Development Practice, 7. ISSN 2009-6976

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    This paper summarizes my MA thesis examining the role of Agricultural Biotechnology in alleviating food insecurity in Ethiopia. Agricultural biotechnology, and in particular Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), is considered by the biotech industries as a potential means to tackle food insecurity. Other views run counter to this position. This paper analyzes the role of agricultural biotechnology in alleviating food insecurity and its implications for smallholding farmers and biodiversity, as perceived by key stakeholders in Ethiopia. Data was collected in 2007 from fourteen key respondents including government, non-governmental and public sector representatives as well as three organic farmers. Three groups of opinion strongly emerged from the findings. The first and largest group expressed skepticism about the role of agricultural biotechnology in alleviating food insecurity. The second and smaller group of respondents held the middle ground and shared the opinion that if it is applied with proper caution under biosafety guidelines, it could be beneficial. The third and smallest group of respondents saw agricultural biotechnology as the only way to alleviate Ethiopian food insecurity. Although the weight of concern differed within the three groups, concerns were raised that biotechnology could have negative implications for smallholder farmers and biodiversity. The findings showed a general consensus in their concern over international governance policies and the inadequate contribution to supporting efforts of the ‘countries of the global South’ in achieving food security. The paper highlights the need to address the diverse causes of food insecurity and argues that the potential of agricultural biotechnology to address food insecurity is highly questionable and it may even intensify such problems.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Agricultural Biotechnology; Alleviating Food Insecurity; Ethiopia; Kimmage Development Studies Centre;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > International Development
    Item ID: 10198
    Depositing User: IR Editor
    Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2018 10:41
    Journal or Publication Title: Research and Perspectives on Development Practice
    Publisher: Kimmage Development Studies Centre
    Refereed: Yes
    Funders: Irish Aid funded Higher Education Authority Grant
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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