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The FAO publication entitled Biotechnology in agriculture. forestry and fisheries brought out in 1993, aimed to inform policy-makers, donors research managers and scientists of FAO's policy, strategy and programme on biotechnology. It had analysed the pattern of biotechnological development in industrialized and developing countries and examined the opportunities and constraints in the use of biotechnology to solve agricultural, forestry and fisheries problems.

This publication is a sequel to the above publication and gives details of the state of biotechnology in the developing regions of the world, namely, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Near East and North Africa. In each region, the state of the technology in selected individual countries has also been described. The regional and country analyses, after briefly highlighting the problems and prospects of food and agricultural production, including sustainability issues, discuss the actual and potential role of biotechnologies in complementing the conventional technologies and give detailed accounts of the policies, programmes, and institutional and infrastructural supports to biotechnology.

The volume provides a comparison of the different approaches taken by the different regions and countries including a few developed countries such as Australia and Japan, in developing and managing their biotechnologies. Such varied experiences provide a basis for learning from each other's experiences and for planning biotechnology programmes and activities commensurate with level of development, capability and need of individual countries. It is hoped that the publication will stimulate not only intraregional but also inter-regional cooperation among developing countries and between developed and developing countries in the field of biotechnology.

The volume also contains a chapter on "Biotechnology in the CGIAR system" which elucidates the way the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system is tackling the challenges of biotechnology in the service of developing countries. The partnership role among National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) and International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs) highlighted in the paper underpins the truly international perspective of the technology. In addition, the 1993 FAO policy paper mentioned above has been reproduced in this volume to provide a balanced and cogent view on the issues of common interest to all countries, such as biosafety, intellectual property right and international cooperation.

I must express my appreciation to and congratulate Dr R.B. Singh, Senior Officer, Research and Technology Development Division on compiling this publication, as well as the 1993 publication Biotechnology in agriculture. forestry and fisheries. I sincerely hope that the publication will forge Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) and other international collaboration for strengthening the capabilities of developing countries in harnessing modern biotechnologies for enhanced food security and sustainable agricultural development.

Hartwing de Haen
Assistant Director-General
Agriculture Department

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