Ghana’s minister for food and agriculture supports ag biotech for battling hunger
Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for Food and Agriculture in Ghana, said Africa should use agricultural biotechnology, like GM crops, to battle hunger and malnutrition, while ensuring environmental sustainability during a conference in Accra, All Africa reports.
“Climate change can significantly reverse the little progress that has been made towards poverty reduction and food security unless Ghana increases the application of science and technology, including biotechnology to improve agricultural productivity,” he emphasized.
Ghana’s government is under pressure to allow GM crops that will increase food production to feed the country’s rising population and to address the challenges of increasing water and land scarcity. Read more.
Indian newspaper says GM crop research could improve local crop production
According to Commodity Online, the Indian government should support agricultural research for the development of high-yielding genetically modified (GM) crop varieties.
The article references Argentina’s agricultural success from adopting GM crops. “It was the adoption of genetically modified (GM) soybean seeds, no till planting that helped raised production.” Read more.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, a Kenyan farmer calls on European leaders to embrace biotechnology to help Africa and the rest of the world boost food production.
Gilbert Arap Bor, who grows maize and vegetables and raises cows in Kenya, says Africa’s challenges with producing enough food could be addressed by giving farmers access “to one of the world’s most important hunger-fighting tools.” Read more.
Next week, farmers from around the world will gather in Des Moines for the Global Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtable, held in conjunction with the Word Food Prize Symposium, hosted by Truth About Trade & Technology (TATT), and sponsored in part by CBI. The farmers will discuss the future of agriculture and how innovations in farming can promote food security around the globe. In preparation for this exciting event, we asked the farmers to share their thoughts on agriculture. Meet a few farmers below and hear their thoughts on food security.
This year, the theme of the World Food Prize Symposium is “take it to the farmer.” How would you describe the role of farmers in feeding the world?
Jose Luis Romeo Martin (Spain): I think Norman Borlaug gave us the correct answer: If you can feed the world you must give the technology and the seeds to the farmers. In many countries in Africa hunger could be solved giving the farmers good seeds and good fertilizers and teaching them the best way to use them. And giving the seeds to the farmers doesn’t solve only hunger. It solves poverty also. In Asia I think the problem is different. There are a lot of people in Asia and they are using all the land they can. And I think the only way to increase the yield is using the new biotech crops.
Giorgio Fidenato (Italy): The role of farmers is analogous to that of other entrepreneurs. Food production is an entrepreneurial activity like any other and must respond to the law of supply and demand. Like all activities it continuously evolves toward the goal of greater efficiency. If the farming sector were left alone and there were a truly free market, innovation in agriculture would be continuous and could certainly solve world hunger.
Camilla Illich (Brazil): Data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that by the year 2050, the world will have around 10 billion people, in other words, from the current situation there would be 4 billion-plus people to feed. Compounding the problem of feeding the world, emerging countries like Brazil have been reducing the number of farmers who have the responsibility to feed urban populations. Given this reality, the focus of the farmers in agriculture is to promote high productivity, or yield average (plant and animal), with help of technology and biotechnology. Farmers are one of the most important players in feeding the world.
This week, a scientific study out of South Africa shows that GM crops could help alleviate food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa and a scientist expresses concern over global food production.
Scientist warns of potential for global famine
In a keynote speech at the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference, Australian biotechnology expert Julian Cribb warned governments across the globe that a worldwide famine is a possibility and that they must find a way to more than double food production in the next century. According to AOLNews, Cribb considers this potential food shortage to be more pressing than the global financial and climate change crises.
Academy of Science of South Africa report says GM Crops can help alleviate food shortage
A recently released report from the Academy of Science of South Africa shares that “agricultural biotechnology…can be one of the most vital tools for addressing the chronic food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa.” The Academy’s research found that GM crops increase yields, improve the protein content of starchy foods and the biofortification of local foods. Currently South Africa is one of only three countries in the continent growing commercial GM crops. Read more.
Indian farmers adopt flood-tolerant rice at unprecedented rates
IRRI, a rice research institute, has found that Indian farmers are planting flood-tolerant rice at an unprecedented rate. While the rice is not commercially available yet, IRRI is working with governments, nonprofit organizations and public and private organizations to promote and distribute the genetically modified rice to areas prone to flooding. Within one year of release, the submergence-tolerant, high-yielding rice variety has reached more than 100,000 farmers in India. Read more.
In his latest article, Reid Forgrave of the Des Moines Register reports on the types of connections and collaborations that are forged at the annual World Food Prize (WFP) Symposium. Hundreds of WFP attendees, from world leaders to local farmers come together every year to brainstorm, discuss ideas and join forces in the global fight against hunger.
As an example of an event that promotes global collaboration, Mr. Forgrave describes the Global Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtable sponsored by the Council for Biotechology Information. Seventeen farmers from around the world were given the opportunity to form mutually beneficial relationships and discuss solutions to common farming challenges. According to one participating farmer, Rajeesh Kumar from southern India, “The lives of Indian farmers can be miserable, with failing crops and lack of technology, but here, I’ve seen a lot of things which can be translated for farmers back in India.”
The complete article can be read here