VOA editorial: biotech solutions contribute to global food production
A Voice of America editorial cites the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, as demonstrating that innovative agricultural technology solutions can help increase global food production.
“From investing in advanced seeds that tolerate drought and resist disease, to infrastructure and market development, this comprehensive approach to agricultural development will also stimulate sustainable economic growth.” Read more.
UK ag minister discusses the benefits of biotech for the environment and food security
According to The Guardian, The UK’s agriculture minister, Jim Paice, said genetically modified (GM) crops could help to meet the rising food demand. Speaking at the annual Oxford Farming Conference, the article said his comments emphasized, “the promised benefits of GM varieties - which would need less nitrogen fertiliser, pesticides or fresh water than non-GM foods - could not be ignored, as demand was rising and pressure on resources and land increasing.” Read more.
Chinese seed expert calls for support of biotech innovations
According to China Daily, seed expert Liu Shi introduced insect-resistant genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds to help Chinese farmers overcome a worm plague that threatened to destroy the country’s cotton production. Known as “Golden Fingers” for his success, Mr. Liu says China should promote technology and research to spur innovation in the local seed industry. Read more.
Leading Kenyan scientists says opposition to GM crops threatens food security
A leading Kenyan scientist, Dr Felix M’mboyi, says Europe’s opposition to GM crops “could threaten food security” in the developing world, The Guardian reports.
Dr. M’mboyi said, “The affluent West has the luxury of choice in the type of technology they use to grow food crops, yet their influence and sensitivities are denying many in the developing world access to such technologies which could lead to a more plentiful supply of food.” Read more.
Wisconsin newspaper speaks to safety of genetically modified foods
The La Crosse Tribune, a Wisconsin publication, says “we have been genetically modifying our foods for thousands of years through a process called hybridization.” The article points out GM foods are safe since, “the difference is that now we have the technology to do this in a very precise way that we heretofore lacked.” Read more.
Mexican Ag Ministry approves planting of GM corn for economic benefits
According to Reuters, Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry approved the country’s first pilot program for planting genetically modified (GM) corn because it will help the agriculture economy. “It is necessary to advance the use of biotechnology to reduce imports and promote national production,” the ministry statement said. Farmers in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where the pilot program will take place, say GM corn will benefit them because it is “higher yielding and more disease resistant.” Read more.
Ugandan scientists testing GM bananas with potential to resist crop disease
Scientists in Uganda believe that genetically modified bananas could help overcome a disease that is devastating the country’s staple food crop, The Guardian reports. The article says that, “laboratory tests on the genetically modified bananas have been highly promising” with six out of eight strains of the GM bananas proving to be 100% resistant to the disease that has threatened the livelihoods of millions of farmers.
According to Dr. Leena Tripathi, a plant biotechnologist at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), “The beauty of the genetic engineering is that you can be very precise,” Read more.
Bangladeshi farmers adopting GM rice for nutritional benefits
According to the United Nations news service, scientists from the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute are testing zinc-rich rice varieties with the goal of mass producing a GM crop within the next five years. Rice, the staple crop of Bangladesh, naturally contains low levels of iron, so farmers in field trials are producing GM rice with high zinc content “to control abnormalities like stunting, poor immune response and pregnancy complications” which can result from too little iron. Read more.