Keywords: biotechnology, small-scale farmers, low-external-input agri-culture, innovation process, farmer participation, interactive bottom-up approach
Requirements for biotechnology development: the necessity for an interactive and participatory innovation process
Biotechnology is often presented as a potentially crucial factor in contributing to sustainable development and poverty alleviation in developing countries. Looking at the innovations currently developed through biotechnology R&D, it can, however, be concluded that these innovations are usually inappropriate for this purpose. Scepticism therefore prevails in the development community about the usefulness of biotechnology as an instrument in poverty alleviation. In this article, we look at new approaches to the management of technological innovations in an attempt to design appropriate biotechnologies for the rural poor. We conclude that implementing an interactive and participatory approach to the innovation process involving farmers, scientists and other stakeholders, as well as enhancing a broader process of training of human resources and institutional change is the way to proceed in the field of biotechnology development for small-scale, resource-poor farmers.