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Does Biotechnology have a Role in the Promotion of Underutilised Crops?

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This article argues that rapidly developing biotechnology applications aimed at improving major crops receive large investments and could, in theory, play a role in the promotion of underutilized plant species in the tropics and subtropics, to address current and emerging challenges for agriculture. The article reviews the particular limitations and risks associated with applying biotechnology to underutilized crops, including the negative consequences of technology centralisation. In addition, the specific actions needed to ensure that smallholder farmers in low-income countries better benefit during the use of biotechnology on underutilized species, by placing a stronger emphasis on partnerships and by proper monitoring of benefits along value chains, are described.