Growing Better Rice for a Hungry World
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with Good Magazine, produced an infographic that illustrates the benefits of rice that is genetically engineered to stand up against environmental and soil stresses. The global demand for rice is growing, and these crop innovations - such as drought- and salt-tolerant rice - can help African and Asian rice farmers achieve higher yields despite changing weather patterns.
Check out the infographic below (click for a larger image):
Drought-tolerant corn becomes closer to commercialization
According to the Des Moines Register, Monsanto Co. is closer to launching a new variety of corn seed that is genetically engineered to tolerate drought. The drought-tolerant crop could be a game-changer for farmers across the world, especially smallholder African farmers, many of whom have faced drought conditions that have severely impacted yield. Philip Brasher writes in the article that the seed is supposed to be provided royalty-free to poor Africans when commercialized. Read more.
Scientist says ag biotech is necessary for food security
According to the science blog Tomorrow’s Table, ag technology is a solution for helping to reduce global poverty and enables farmers, especially in low-income countries, to produce more crops on less land.
Dr. Robert L. Thompson, senior fellow for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, points out, “Tools available today, including plant breeding and biotechnology, can make presently unusable soils productive and increase the genetic potential of individual crops - enhancing drought and stress tolerance, for example - while also producing gains in yields.” Read more.
Field trials of drought-resistant GM corn show yield increases in drier U.S. regions
Scientific American says GM corn with drought resistance could help the crop to thrive in low-water conditions. The article points out that the technology could be a solution for addressing the challenges of increasing global temperatures, which could impact food and fuel prices worldwide.
In field trials in some of the drier regions of the U.S., GM corn produced seven to 10 extra bushels per acre—a significant increase considering USDA estimates showing the average annual global corn crop losses due to “moderate drought” are 15 percent per year. Read more.
Study shows biotech crops help increase yields
According to VOA News, a study by the journal Science shows that technology - such as genetic modification - is necessary to improve crop yields as global temperatures rise and weather patterns change. Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University and a co-author of the study, said, “If you’re worried about rising food prices, it might be good to funnel some research into doing breeding for heat tolerance, and maybe even drought tolerance.” Read more.
USDA announces plans to consider approval of drought-resistant GM corn
Paul Voosen reports for The New York Times that the USDA is likely to approve the unlimited sale of a drought-resistant genetically modified corn. Tests of the corn show that the corn can resist stressful environmental conditions, which the article says could help farmers reduce yield losses even in drought-prone regions. If approved, the variety would be the first biotech crop designed to meet environmental challenges, rather than pests or herbicides. Read more.
Buffet Foundation funds development of GM sorghum for Africa
According to Reuters, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation is providing a $4 million grant to support efforts to develop genetically modified sorghum for Africa that is fortified with vitamins.
“Improving the nutrition of this staple crop has the potential to change the lives of more than 300 million Africans,” said Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and father of Howard G. Buffet. The Howard G. Buffet Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for the world’s most impoverished populations, often through agricultural productivity. Read more.
CNBC Special Report discusses role of ag tech in world food supply
A CNBC Special Report on Food Economics says agricultural biotechnology is gaining a bigger role in helping to improve global crop yields. The article points out that diseases and insects reduce global crop production by 35 percent. Biotech crops with insect and disease resistance and drought tolerance help farmers produce healthy crops. Read more.
On April 26, CBI sponsored The Atlantic Food Summit, which brought together leading experts in food and agriculture to discuss solutions to pressing challenges such as sustainable agriculture and global food security. Check out the slideshow below for some photos from the event. Full video from the Food Summit is available here.
Click the “full screen” button in the bottom right corner of the slideshow below to view the slideshow full screen.