Guidelines from a multi-day discussion about the challenges and opportunities for agbiotech crops in developing countries were published last week as a white paper in Nature Plants. The discussion was convened in September, 2022, at the Banbury Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an internationally-recognized center for fostering deep consideration of science and policy topics among global experts.
The aim of the meeting was to examine the challenges impacting R&D, infrastructure, and funding of technology development for agriculture in developing countries. The event was organized by Dr. Kate Creasy Krainer, President and Founder of Grow More Foundation, and Sir Richard Roberts, Chief Science Officer at New England Biolabs.
2Blades President and co-founder, Diana Horvath, participated in the convening alongside communicators, regulators, educators, farmers, consultants, for-profit and non-profit company leaders, government and foundation funders, Fellows of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Biology, and World Food Prize and Nobel laureates. The diverse group, with majority representation from Africa, was tasked with considering and outlining potential opportunities and solutions to these challenges.
Key recommendations that were highlighted:
- More economic incentives and longer term mechanisms of support for sustained investment beyond international and national project funding
- Regional and international partnerships to achieve needs-based outcomes with support from a range of expertise and resources
- Further training and development to drive greater regional capacity and jobs
- More stream-lined and harmonized regulatory frameworks and speedier varietal registration
- Long-term vision and commitment
- More effective and targeted communication to leaders and policymakers
“The meeting organizers combined an excellent mix of people and perspectives with a clear agenda,” said Horvath. “Banbury Center meetings are especially conducive for thoughtful engagement among participants, and the discipline of producing a white paper elevated the effort with a meaningful outcome.”