Workshop on Biotechnologies for the Improvement of Cereal and Legume Crops in West Asia and North Africa: Present Status and Future Perspectives
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Communication Team ICARDA. (30/4/1991). Workshop on Biotechnologies for the Improvement of Cereal and Legume Crops in West Asia and North Africa: Present Status and Future Perspectives. Beirut, Lebanon.
Most Arab countries are located in arid and Semi-arid zones that are characterized by severe weather conditions, lack of freshwater, and soil erosion. As a result, conventional agriculture for the production of food and feed is strictly limited and has low consumption levels. Recent advances in biotechnology offer good prospects to Arab countries. These prospects include innovative biotechnological techniques for (a) the production of food and feed by bioconversion systems; (b) biological treatment and utilization of wastes, (c) biological nitrogen fixation for soil fertility, (d) pollution control for oil spills, and (e) tissue culture for improvement and micropropagation of plants. The available information from Arab countries indicates that biotechnology applications are limited to traditional and classical methods for agriculture production. Some countries have established tissue culture laboratories for the propagation of some crops, particularly date palms, whereas others are still preparing to establish a plant biotechnology infrastructure. Crop species that play an important economic role in the Arab countries and expected improvement from the application of modern biotechnological techniques is likely, to include date palm, cereal, legume crops, potatoes, citrus, olives, almonds, and pistachios. Several constraints face the development of biotechnological applications in most Arab countries, similar to those experienced in other developing countries. These constraints mainly relate to priorities and strategies, manpower availability, and economic infrastructure and development. The nature of biotechnology as a multidisciplinary adds to these constraints since it requires integrating several disciplines of life sciences which necessitates a special training program. In spite of these constraints, the research add development initiated so far represents an important starting point, and will have a long-term impact on the commercial development of agriculture
- Agricultural Research Knowledge