Crop biotechnology has continued to provide important economic and production gains, improved incomes and reduced risk for farmers around the world, according to the seventh annual report on crop biotechnology impacts prepared by UK-based PG Economics. More than half (55 percent) of the 2010 farm income gains went to farmers in developing countries, 90 percent of whom are resource-poor smallholders, the report said.
“The advantages of advanced seed technology for farmers in developing countries come at a time when food availability is becoming more of an issue around the world,” said Dr. Cathleen Enright, executive director of the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI).
“The population continues to grow, but for many farmers, their ability to produce food remains stuck in the past,” she said. “In order to double food production by 2050 to meet demand, new seed technologies must be utilized. READ MORE »
Want to hear from experts and policy makers on hot topics like food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture? Then mark your calendars for the Atlantic Food Summit on Tuesday, April 26 from 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM EST. The annual summit, this year sponsored in part by CBI, will feature an exciting line-up of speakers who are top experts in agriculture and food production and policy.
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will give the morning keynote address. Thereafter, Dr. Nina Fedoroff, President of AAAS, the world’s largest scientific society, will participate in a panel discussion on sustainable agriculture.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who serves as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, and internationally acclaimed chef José Andrés, founder of ThinkFoodGroup, will share their unique insights on the food security, access and affordability panel.
You can watch the event live on The Atlantic’s website. CBI will also keep you updated with live tweets from the event @agbiotech.
Scientist researching drought resistant wheat
According to NPR, scientists are researching ways to engineer wheat so it can thrive even when water is scarce. A drought impacting Russia this summer pushed wheat prices to their highest in years, underscoring the importance for a variety of wheat that can survive in droughts. In addition to wheat, scientists and researchers have already engineered drought-tolerant maize, and it could be sold commercially in just two years based on the regulatory process. Listen here.
Countries in Africa and Asia have much to gain economically from adopting GM crops
Biofortified posted a piece about a paper by Kym Anderson in New Biotechnology that shows that the potential economic benefits for those countries in Africa and Asia willing to adopt genetically modified (GM) crop varieties can be great. However, the countries would not gain economically under this model if they ban imports of GM crops. Read more.
Argentine Farmer writes that biotechnology is about human rights and eradicating hunger
Global Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtable participant Roberto Peiretti penned a piece about what he labels as “gene-ocide,” negatively portraying genetically modified crops without sound science. Roberto has always supported environmentally responsible agriculture and has committed to no-till agriculture for many years. He writes, “Biotechnology and its synergy with no-till agriculture have the potential to improve nutrition and feed a growing world by boosting agricultural productivity and profitability in a sustainable fashion. This is a synergy we need if we are going to succeed in doubling global agricultural production during the next thirty to fifty years.” 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.
Genetically modified crops reached a significant milestone this week and a new third-party study clearly demonstrates the benefits of genetically modified drought-tolerant corn for African farmers and consumers.
1 billion hectares of biotech crops planted
This week agricultural biotechnology marked an important milestone: farmers around the world have planted more than 1 billion hectares of GM crops since they were introduced in 1996. This is a huge accomplishment (there are 2.47 acres in a hectare) and demonstrates that farmers globally are recognizing and taking advantage of the benefits made possible through high-yielding GM crops. Full story.
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