The International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR)


Agricultural Biotechnology and Food security in Africa


Vittorio Santaniello, Tor Vergata University, Italy





It is a well know fact that the first Green Revolution has bypassed Africa. The high yielding varieties breaded in the 60's and after were mainly tuned to a technological and resource environment very different from those prevailing south of the Sahara. The necessary condition to harvest the benefits of those new improved varieties was the adoption of an input intensive technology. This in turn required a well functioning market for inputs and output, as well as the existence of a technical apparatus to assist farmers in the adoption of the new varieties and production techniques. All those conditions were far from been wide spread in Africa. This helps explaining the meager results of the Green Revolution in this continent.

It is now generally accepted that a completely different approach to plant breeding is needed if we want Africa to benefit from the Gene Revolution. The paper will analyze what is the status of biotechnology research in Africa, which is the direction, what is the direction it is moving and see if the traits breeders are trying to introduce in the new varieties will favor their wide adoption. The paper also will attempt a first estimation of the economic benefits that could be expected from the dissemination of those new varieties.


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