The agricultural technology transfer mechanism has been developed through decades with extensive use of technology to address challenges of agricultural productivity growth. It was only with globalization came the concept of Local Agricultural Technology Transfer (LAT). The main driving force behind the movement of technology to different parts of the world is its ability to increase productivity growth in agriculture. In the present scenario of agricultural technologies, many trans-frontier links have come into existence, which is capable of linking diverse technology domains and practices to each other and creating a platform of inter-linkage.
Biotechnology is an example of such a linking mechanism that has helped the development of major food chain R&D systems. Since the mid-1990s, biotechnology organizations at universities have been active in developing and testing technologies to address a variety of problems that cropped up due to the genetic modification of crops and pest resistance. The major fruits of these research relationships are evident in the varieties of genetically modified food products and the sprays that are used to protect them from pests and insects.
Another important area is the arena of agriculture and the role of biotechnology in it. Biotechnology organizations at universities have been working towards developing better management principles and improved management systems that are suited for the different needs of the agricultural sector. They have also developed improved ways of communication between agricultural scientists and their colleagues across the different domains. Agriculture is one of the broadest segments of science and technology transfer activity across the world. Agriculture is the most growth of all other sectors with an increase in population over the years. Agriculture is the most concentrated use of science and technology transfer activities and involves numerous trans-disciplinary collaborations and contacts.
There are several inter-related programs that have developed over time. One of them is the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This center is a collaboration of the federal agencies and the universities with the support of the private sector. The major highlight of this Centre is its agriculture business technologies program which conducts cutting-edge molecular biology research, conducts molecular evolution research, and conducts molecular biology research in the field of food and Feeds. It has links with over sixty universities and colleges across the US. This center also supports the commercialization of genetic resources and implements various agricultural management techniques.
Agriculture is an agricultural technology transfer and research activity that mainly focus on four key areas namely crop protection, food and feed administration, dairy and poultry, and forestry. There is an increasing need for improved knowledge and strategies to improve the yield, productivity, and profitability of the agricultural economy. In the field of agriculture, technological advances in many sectors have significantly contributed to the productivity and the market share of the farmers. Some of the important developments in the agricultural sector that have emerged due to advancements in the technology transfer activities are listed as below:
Biotechnology research: This has helped to bring about major transformations in the biotechnology industry, including the intensification of crop production, reduction in the cost of production, adoption of genetically engineered crops, and increased use of fertilizers and pesticides. Various national and international organizations have been set up for the purpose of sharing information and educating the public on the uses of biotechnology. Various seminars and workshops are conducted regularly by the government as well as independent organizations to popularize the use of biotechnology. There is a great demand for extension services and related services. The agricultural sector needs skilled and trained professionals to obtain new products and to maintain the existing supplies.
Agriculture is another important area for agriculture research and development. It includes animal breeding, plant breeding, and genetic engineering as well as pest and weed control. There has been a significant increase in the use of chemicals in the agricultural industry over the past few years. Biotechnology products for agriculture include pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, soaps, and fertilizers. Biotechnology companies are focusing more on the development of key products like food and feed additives, livestock hormones, and soil microbes that can increase the yields and improve the quality of crop production.
Research and development in the agricultural sector require adequate support from the stakeholders, especially the farmers. The government must provide suitable policies and a conducive environment so that research and development can be effectively implemented. Biotechnology research and development must be promoted by promoting best practices among the stakeholders, and farmers should be encouraged to utilize these facilities to the fullest. The biotechnology industry must continue to contribute to the improvement of the nation’s food and farming system. Its contribution should be greatly appreciated by all the stakeholders in the agricultural community.