Environmentalist discusses benefits of GM crops for global food security
In a Bloomberg column, an environmentalist says Genetically Modified (GM) crops should be part of the solution for preventing global food shortages. Sheril Kirshenbaum, a science writer and research associate at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, points out that golden rice, which is genetically modified with more vitamin A and to improve nutrition, should be made available in developing countries because it “would save thousands of lives, and it would be more cost-effective than providing vitamin supplements or fortifying foods.” Read more.
Reuters: weather unpredictability makes GM crops crucial
According to Reuters, developing countries are choosing to invest in GM crops engineered to grow in droughts or floods to help farmers maintain a food supply despite the challenges of climate change . “If you can’t predict the weather then you can try to beat it-with new genetic strains of grain plants that will boost yields.” Read more.
New York Times columnist Nick Kristof
New York Times columnist Kristof supports biofortification to battle malnutrition
In a New York Times article, Nicholas Kristof discusses the importance of biofortified crops in aiding the battle against poverty and malnutrition. He points out that sweet potato, golden rice and other crops genetically engineered with vitamin A help poor countries like those in Africa where distribution of vitamin A capsules is costly and vitamin-rich crop varieties are scarce. Kristof also addresses critics of biofortification: “the European left’s sad hostility to scientific tinkering with crops may slow acceptance of biofortification. If that hostility gains ground, it will be harder to save children from blindness and death.” Read more.
USDA petition for genetically modified apples that won’t turn brown
According to the Associated Press, a Canadian biotechnology company petitioned the USDA to approve a genetically modified apple that won’t brown soon after it is sliced. Neal Carter, president of the company that developed the apples, says the improvement could make apples more popular in snacks, salads and other meals. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service explains that biotechnology regulations are meant to ensure that genetically modified crops are just as safe for agriculture and the environment as conventionally bred crop varieties. Read more.
Anti-biotechnology crimes pressure Europe’s brightest researchers to quit
A Wall Street Journal piece calls it “a shame and a tragedy” that France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research will no longer develop new varieties of genetically modified crops. Marion Guillou, head of the organization, explains that the decision followed the destruction of €1.2 million in experimental crops by radical activists, and was just one example of crimes that have caused many other European farmers to quit. Guillou pointed out that advancements in the genetic research of wealthy countries such as France have made significant contributions to improvements in agricultural production. Read more
Science journal Nature published editorials on the need for a second green revolution to eliminate world hunger by 2050 and how overregulation is slowing down a rice variety than can lower the risk of blindness in children, while the production of a biotech crop in India yields advantages for female employment opportunities and earnings.
“Second green revolution” necessary to eliminate world hunger
A second green revolution with a new focus in agricultural research will be needed to provide enough food for the world’s population in 2050, according to an editorial published by science journal Nature on July 28. In order to achieve a Green Revolution, we will need to invest in high-tech seeds and low-tech farming practices. The editorial was part of Nature’s latest issue where the theme was food and agriculture. READ MORE »