Correct citation: The editors (2001), "Editorial: Perspectives." Biotechnology and Development Monitor, No. 48, p. 2-3.

This edition of the Biotechnology and Development Monitor has been produced to complement LEISA Magazine's exploration of the theme "GE not the only option". Both magazines are being circulated together to a combined international readership of some 20,000 people all of whom are affected either at field, research or policy level by the implications of genetically modified crops. ILEIA (Information Centre for Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture), the publisher of the LEISA Magazine and the Biotechnology and Development Monitor are extremely grateful to the Dutch donor organizations HIVOS, ICCO and NOVIB for supporting our project.

This is the first time the Monitor has tried to link its readers via the medium of a complementary publication with the experiences and thinking of a network exclusively concerned with small-scale agriculture in developing countries. Since 1985, ILEIA has been documenting and publishing information on farmers' technologies and participative methodologies. In doing so it aims to increase farmers' potential to make optimal use of local resources, reduce their dependence on expensive external inputs and strengthen the sustainability of their agriculture.

In this context the Monitor has selected a series of articles on themes directly relevant to small-scale farming systems. These "Perspectives" as we have called them are intended to introduce some of the issues involved in the much broader field of genetic engineering as applied to agriculture.

The genetic modification of crops is, as Bert Visser (LEISA p9) points out is only one dimension of agricultural biotechnology, but it is one that has far reaching implications for the environment and for agricultural production and food security. The commercialization of GM crops (Ismael p15) has given rise to an intricate system of legislation and regulation that is still in the process of development (Choudary p19). At the same time research into the viability of these crops is going ahead (Ely p6) even though it is still not clear what grass roots reaction to this new technology will be (Asveld et al p22). While transnational corporations try to extend their international markets in GM products (Minderhoud p13) industrialized agriculture is coming to terms with the legal implications of this new technology (Phillipson p2).

In developing the themes for our two magazines we have tried to touch on as many experiences of agricultural gene technology as possible and we look forward to hearing your comments.

Contributions to the Biotechnology and Development Monitor are not covered by any copyright. Exerpts may be translated or reproduced without prior permission (with exception of parts reproduced from third sources), with  acknowledgement of source.


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