4.4GF

PUBLIC-PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS IN PLANT PATHOLOGY THAT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO FOOD SECURITY


ROB WILLIAMS
CAB INTERNATIONAL, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8DE, UK

Plant pathology was the first agricultural discipline to benefit from the advent of crop biotechnology, in which the private sector is the major investor. Non-conventional virus resistance was the first trait to be incorporated in a commercialized transgenic crop and many new genes that confer resistance to plant pathogens are currently at an advanced stage of testing in field trials. These include genes that confer resistance to fungal and bacterial diseases. The potential impact of genes that confer resistance to plant diseases in terms of food production and environmental benefits is enormous. Most of the new biotech applications are being developed by the private sector, not the public sector. The building of partnerships and institutional linkages between the private and public sector involved in biotechnology applications for the control of plant diseases would accelerate and maximize the benefits of this new technology to society. The partnership would also benefit from the respective comparative advantages of the partners and allow limited resources from the public and private sector to be integrated and used collectively in a cross-sectoral global initiative.