Ethiopia picture of poverty, stunted growth and famine

Ethiopia is one of the richest countries in biodiversity and yet, lacking and lagging in overall development. Currently, abiotic and biotic stresses are challenging these resources. When the wealth of Ethiopia’s people is compared with that of other country a contrasting picture of poverty, stunted growth and famine resulting from insufficient food production is revealed. The agricultural, and food security problems in Ethiopia cannot be solved by applying plant biotechnology alone. However, the country is still dependent on conventional agriculture with limited use of its rich genetic resources. Although, modern biotechnology has economic, environmental, industrial and health benefits, genetic engineering is still debated. Moreover, the status, challenges and future role of biotechnology in Ethiopia is not documented in such a way that researchers and development actors use it easily. The status of modern biotechnology in Ethiopia is at an infant stage with plant tissue culture as a major achievement. GM-cotton limited field trial was started in 2016 and shown to have a promising result. Hence, in addition to the abiotic stresses, future biotechnology researches in Ethiopia should focus on solving the biotic. The main limitations facing the plant biotechnology industry in the country are poorly skilled human resources, lack of modern facilities, poor public perception and weak political will by some governments. More vigorous practical actions are needed in order for combination of novel molecular tools, screening technologies, and economic evaluation should become the main goal of the plant biotechnological revolution in agriculture in terms of food security, economic growth, improved health and environmental protection.

Key words: Biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, molecular assisted selection, tissue culture.

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