Improving Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems

OECD Conference Proceedings

image of Improving Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems

This conference proceedings from the OECD Conference on Agricultural Knowledge Systems (AKS), held in Paris, on 15-17 June 2011, discusses a large range of experiences and approaches to AKS  explores how to foster development and adoption of innovation to meet global food security and climate change challenges. The conference considered developments in institutional frameworks, public and private roles and partnerships, regulatory frameworks conducive to innovation, the adoption of innovations and technology transfers, and the responsiveness of AKS to broader policy objectives.


A Farmer's experience with biotech crops in South Africa

Demand for agricultural products is increasing, with most experts suggesting that food production will need to double by 2050 in order to meet food demand. To increase production, while improving the sustainability of agriculture, we need to adopt better methods, better management, tillage methods, better knowledge of resources, and better genetics. In the last two decades, the area planted with biotech crops has increased in the world to reach 10% of total arable land. The main traits are herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. In South Africa, yields have almost doubled with the adoption of biotech maize, which now accounts for a fourth of the area planted. Farm-level evidence in the Freestate Province of South Africa shows that biotech varieties are less dependent on rainfall, reduce production costs, and increase yield and profit margins (by up to 32%) compared to other varieties. Moreover, savings on herbicide and pesticide applications, and the resulting decline in fuel usage, have had positive impacts on the environment.


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