Andrew Revkin, science reporter from the New York Times Dot Earth Blog shared in his blog post “A Menu feeding 9 Billion” that Science Magazine, the premier national academic science journal, removed the pay wall from the report “Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People.” According to Revkin, the paper discusses the difficulty of feeding a growing population with current agricultural practices, but “expresses optimism that a sustained focus on efficiency, technology and policy innovations can do the trick.”
The authors of the report prepared a chart with examples of possible strategic traits that could be engineered in specific crops, helping farmers produce significant crop yields even in marginal circumstances. Examples of traits include: salinity tolerance and increased nitrogen-use efficiency.
The paper stresses “that technology alone is far from sufficient if policies are not shifted to advance the appropriate use of the right agricultural strategy or tool in the right place.” Therefore, the authors also point to areas such as aquaculture and food waste management as tools that can increase sustainable production limits.
Additionally, Revkin reports that this special February issue of Science about Food Security includes an analysis by Dr. Nina Fedoroff, Science and Technology Advisor at the U.S. Department of State and 14 other authors, including CBI Expert Dr. Pamela Ronald. This analysis, “Radically Rethinking Agriculture for the 21st Century” also underlines the importance of revising our agriculture policies to fit the needs of the 21st century, and focuses on the promise of agricultural technology that can greatly increase crop yields and support a growing population.
The authors of this analysis believe that the complex regulatory structure for GM crops needs to be simplified so more resources are allocated towards GM crop development. They believe that these efforts, along with improved aquaculture practices, will help us improve food security worldwide and combat the effects of a changing climate. The authors of this report conclude by saying, “But if we are to resume progress towards eliminating hunger, we must scale up and further build on the innovative approaches already under development, and we must do so immediately.”