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Journal of Nutrition. 2003 Nov; 133:3319-3322.Even in a world with adequate food supplies in global markets, which is the situation today, biotechnology offers important opportunities to developing countries in four domains. First, many agronomically hostile or degraded environments require major scientific breakthroughs to become productive agricultural systems. Few of these breakthroughs are likely to be achieved through traditional breeding approaches. Second, biofortification offers the promise of greater quantities and human availabilities of micronutrients from traditional staple foods, with obvious nutritional gains for poor consumers, especially their children. Third, many high yielding agricultural systems are approaching their agronomic potential. Radically new technologies will be required to sustain productivity growth in these systems, and only modern genetic technology offers this hope. Finally, many cropping systems use large quantities of chemical inputs, such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers that can be unhealthy for people and soils alike. Biotechnology offers the potential to reduce the need for these inputs in economically and environmentally sustainable ways. Applying these new technologies to society’s basic foods raises obvious concerns for both human and ecological health. For some, these concerns have become outright fear, and this has mobilized a backlash against genetically modified foods in any form. These concerns (and fears) must be addressed carefully and rationally so that the public understands the risks (which are not zero) and benefits (which might be enormous). Only the scientific community has the expertise and credibility to build this public understanding. (author's)
Social, economic and health impact of the Community Based Integrated Rural Development (CBIRD) project: an evaluation report.
Nakhon Pathom, Mahidol University, IPSR, 1988 Aug. xvi, 77 p. (IPSR Publication No. 130)This study evaluated the impact (post-program) of the Community-Based Integrated Rural Development project among 40 project and 10 non-project villages during 1984-88 in Nang Rong District, Burirum Province, India. The summary of findings indicates that changes occurred in the economic and social infrastructure in all villages during the observed period. Improvements were evident in the access to electricity, in more paved roads, and in the possession of consumer durables. Sanitation improved. The number of community development groups, such as rice and fertilizer fund groups and women's groups, increased in both project and non-project areas. An increased number of household members worked in factories. Changes occurred in the percentage of households having one or more members engaged in a variety of economic activities. New farm and non-farm activities appeared. The trend was moving away from a subsistence economy. Levels of participation in income generation activities varied from moderate to high depending upon the activity. Adoption of agricultural technology varied depending upon the familiarity to villagers and level of investment. Technologies most likely to be adopted required smaller investments and were more familiar. Improvements were evident in health and nutritional status and greater in project villages. Both village types showed contraceptive use among married women aged 15-49 years to be about 68%. Fertility declined. Prenatal care services increased from 60% to 88% in project villages and 58% to 74% in non-project villages. Use of modern health service units increased, and the percentage of units using trained health personnel for delivery increased. Immunization increased and was greater in project villages. Local villagers, who were directly or indirectly involved in the project, rated the project highly and suggested continuation of those components that were less costly. One criticism was that some income generation schemes may not have helped poor families. Recommendations were made to expand coverage, particularly for income generation that attracts large numbers of people. Market outlets should be improved. The pattern of private and government cooperation might be used as a model for other development activities.