In observance of World Food Day, C. S. Prakash, Ph. D. of the College of Agriculture at Tuskegee University remarked that ag biotech remains vitally important in the fight against world hunger, through the production of plants that resist pests and disease responsible for significant crop damage in the developing world, and the continued cultivation of more nutritious strains of staple crops.
“Biotechnology represents a frontier advance in agricultural science, and has far-reaching potential in advancing global food production in an environmentally sustainable manner,” he stated, reiterating as well that “leading scientists around the world are attesting to the health and environmental safety of agricultural biotechnology, and now they are calling for genetically modified crops to be extended to the people who need it most - hungry people in the developing world.”
As we continue to work towards eliminating world hunger amid an expanding global population, Dr. Prakash concluded that “biotechnology represents a powerful tool that we can employ in concert with many other traditional approaches in increasing food production in the face of diminishing land and water resources.” Read more.
A review of available scientific evidence about genetically modified (GM) crops clearly indicates their benefits for environmental sustainability and managing drought, according to an article by New Scientist.
“By reducing the need for tilling, for example, GM crops have enabled farmers to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, a small but important contribution to the fight against climate change. And GM promises more: creating drought-resistant crops that will thrive in the warmer climates of the future, for instance,” it points out in the October issue of the magazine.
The journal notes that considering biotechnology along with other agricultural traditions is necessary to develop solutions for “more productive, sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.” Read more.
After analyzing data from 237 studies conducted over the last forty years to determine whether organic foods provide additional health benefits, Stanford University scientists have concluded that organic fruits and vegetables are generally no more nutritious than their conventionally-grown counterparts. The scientists also determined that there were no major health advantages to organic meats, reports The New York Times.
The study’s findings, which were published in today’s issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, made an impact on the researchers, who sought to provide an objective resource for consumers to make more informed choices. “When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,” said Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior affiliate with Stanford’s Center for Health Policy and the senior author of the paper. “I think we were definitely surprised.” Read more.
According to an article published by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), the Agricultural Institute of Genetics in Vietnam has concluded that biotech maize is safe for the environment, adding the biotech variety has been found to have some advantages that its conventional counterpart lacks.
Dr. Le Huy Ham, Head of the Agricultural Institute of Genetics, voiced his support for commercializing the biotech maize. “I don’t think we need to wait some more time. GMP [genetically modified plants] should be applied in Vietnam, as soon as possible,” he stated, adding that “the cultivation in the last 16 years shows that GMPs are safe to humans and biodiversity.”
Agriculture expert Professor Vo-Tong Xuan also encouraged adoption of the technology, noting that 30 countries worldwide have already successfully cultivated and benefitted from the use of biotech crops. Read more.
European opposition to biotech crops has no scientific basis and will cost the continent dearly in biodiversity, land preservation, and adaptation to global warming, according to four Swedish scientists who say the European Union’s approval process has been captured by special interests who “demonize” agricultural biotechnology.
“Lobbyists who benefit from demonizing GM crops are not the ones who have to carry the costs,” the quartet wrote in EMBO Reports, published by Nature for the European Molecular Biology Organization. “It is not the hyped risks of GM crops that are a problem in the EU, it is the submissive attitude of politicians and policymakers towards organizations who insist that GM crops are risky. It is then ordinary consumers who pay the costs and do not receive the benefits.” READ MORE »