Research and Extension Systems

Call for Case Studies of the Use of Agricultural Biotechnologies to Meet the Needs of Smallholders in Developing Countries

05 Apr 2022

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working with its Member Nations and development partners to reverse the current trend of worsening food insecurity and malnutrition as a means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2 on zero hunger, by 2030. FAO’s work is guided by its new Strategic Framework, which seeks the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Agricultural biotechnologies are an integral part of the ‘toolbox’ for achieving much needed significant increases in food production without increasing the deleterious environmental footprints of the agrifood systems. FAO's definition of biotechnology is based on that of the Convention on Biological Diversity and is quite broad. It encompasses a wide range of low- to high-tech approaches, such as artificial insemination, tissue culture and fermentation techniques as well as whole genome sequencing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based approaches for disease diagnosis and monitoring.

In 2012, FAO published Biotechnologies at Work for Smallholders, a collection of case studies of the applications of biotechnologies to serve the needs of smallholders in developing countries. To build upon, complement and update this 2012 publication, FAO intends to publish a new set of case studies of the applications of agricultural biotechnologies to solve the problems that constrain smallholder production systems in developing countries in the crop, forestry, livestock and fisheries/aquaculture sectors. The case studies, reflecting the applications of a range of different biotechnologies, will target a non-technical audience. They will aim to cover the various purposes for which agricultural biotechnologies are applied, such as to increase productivity and quality; add value in the postproduction phase; characterize/conserve genetic resources; and diagnose or prevent diseases.

Submission of proposals for new case studies
FAO invites interested practitioners to propose case studies of the application of agricultural biotechnologies to smallholder agrifood systems in developing countries for consideration for publication. To submit a proposal, please send an abstract (maximum 300 words) of the case study to [email protected]. The abstract should be in English and it should describe the case study, specifying the biotechnology (or biotechnologies) applied, where it was applied, who benefitted from its application and the impacts it had in the field. The proposals should therefore document validated and replicable applications of biotechnologies, not the results of research in the laboratory or research station. The selection of the successful abstracts will be based primarily on the quality of each submission. However, other criteria, such as the coverage of different biotechnologies and sectors (i.e. crop, forestry, livestock and fisheries/aquaculture); the different problems for which biotechnologies provided solutions; and geographical regions, will be considered. Multiple abstracts may be submitted per person, as long as they refer to distinct case studies.

The full texts of the case studies
For the proposals that are selected for publication, the authors will then be asked to submit a more detailed description (maximum 2000 words). A modest honorarium will be made available to the authors for this task, if required. The authors should describe the context and background, key problem(s) addressed, biotechnology (or biotechnologies) applied, implementation of the biotechnology, obstacles/challenges encountered, factors for success, the impacts and lessons learned. If possible, some relevant photos should also be provided. For reference, see the 19 case studies that were published in Biotechnologies at Work for Smallholders.

The key deadlines for this call are as follows:

  • 22 June 2022 – deadline for submission of abstracts
  • 29 July 2022 – authors of the successful abstracts are notified they have been selected
  • 15 September 2022 – submission of first draft of the full case study by the authors of the selected abstracts

The collection of different case studies will be published as a book by FAO in 2023. Requests for
clarification or other inquiries can be sent to [email protected]