This week in ag biotech… EU approves import of GM maize and biofuels in Africa could lead to better food security
Ag biotech expert Dr. C.S. Prakash talked to Soy Connection about the benefits of ag biotech, while researchers have found evidence that food security could actually be enhanced by planting biofuel crops.
EU approves six varieties of maize for import
Reuters reports that the European Commission on Wednesday approved six genetically modified (GM) maize varieties for import to the EU member countries. This demonstrates its desire to speed up European Union decisions on the technology.
The decision opens the way for fresh imports of the approved GM maize varieties from countries such as the United States, Brazil and Argentina.
Ask the Expert: Fun Facts on Ag Biotech from Dr. C.S. Prakash
Soy Connection recently interviewed Dr. C.S. Prakash of Tuskegee University, who is widely known as one of the world’s foremost experts in the benefits and safety of agricultural biotechnology. He provided some interesting facts about biotech including:
- Biotech crops are grown in 25 countries on 2 billion acres worldwide.
- More than 85 percent of U.S. acreage is planted with biotech varieties. Yields have increased 36 percent since 1995, the last year before biotech varieties were commercially planted.
- Biotech crops are grown by more than 12 million poor farmers in developing countries such as India, China, South Africa, Argentina and the Philippines. This helps sustainable development by providing US$44 billion in additional income (1996-2007), 44 percent due to yield gains and 56 percent due to reduced production costs.
You can learn more from Dr. Prakash by checking out CBI’s YouTube Channel to hear what he had to say about biotech and sustainability at this year’s BIO Conference.
Biofuels could actually improve food security, report says
Planting biofuel crops in Africa will not damage the capacity to grow food and could even enhance food security, according to a review prepared for the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and reported on by SciDevNet.
“If approached with the proper policies and processes and with the inclusion of all the various stakeholders, bioenergy is not only compatible with food production but can greatly benefit agriculture in Africa,” said Rocio Diaz-Chavez, a researcher at Imperial College, London, and lead author of the report, titled “Mapping Food and Bioenergy in Africa.”