Poor farmers in less-developed nations will share in leading-edge technology that can help them produce higher yields of food and feed crops.

Eden Bioscience Corp. has announced it will make its biochemical product, Messenger, available to small-scale farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya and within a year will expand it to other African and Eastern European countries that apply for inclusion in the project.

Messenger, which can be used as a seed treatment or sprayed directly on growing crops, is based on harpin technology, which activates a plant's own defense system against diseases and insects, and promotes increased nutrient uptake and photosynthesis.

“We are committed to a more humane world, in which life-enhancing technologies are made available simultaneously to all,” said Beat Adler, Eden business manager for Africa and the Middle East. Twenty ministers of agriculture from those nations attended the forum on subsistence farming at Crans Montana, Switzerland.

“We are beginning our subsistence farming demonstration program in Ethiopia, which has some of the poorest farmers in the world,” Adler said. “Because of the low dosage per hectare per season, even subsistence farmers can benefit from Messenger, which requires only one application to crops such as wheat, rice, maize, teff, and sorghum to increase overall basic food production.”

Subsistence level farmers will be able to substantially improve their crops and incomes without additional heavy labor or expensive application equipment, he said.