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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic

"Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources"

‘Traditional' Agriculture Versus Biotechnology: Challenges for Research and (development) Practice

Patrick van Damme

University of Ghent, Dept. of Plant Production - Lab. for Tropical Agronomy, Belgium


The human population continues to increase against a background of dwindling natural resources and changing climates. The biotechnology lobby tries to convince the world the only solution is to develop tailor-made GMOs that w/should guarantee high output and quality with less input use. Nutrition science has brought biofortification and brings health solutions in a pill. It is the contention of this presentation that traditional approaches that build on experience gained through years of practice, sound scientific reasoning and principles, and integrate natural resource use eventually offer more sustainable production solutions that are user- and consumer-friendly. Agro-ecology and agro-sylvo-pastoral systems are cited and highlighted as examples of good practices that would need to be further developed and implemented to continue to guarantee food security, esp. in the developing world.

Keywords: Biotechnology, food security, traditional agriculture

Contact Address: Patrick van Damme, University of Ghent, Dept. of Plant Production - Lab. for Tropical Agronomy, Coupure links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium, e-mail: patrick.vandamme@ugent.be

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