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.
Genetic engineering can lead to beneficial advances in human nutrition and the fight against world hunger, according to the top science advisor to Pope Benedict XVI.
“Thanks to the recent advances in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, it has become possible to direct biological evolution in order to better fulfill our needs for a healthy nutrition as a contribution to medically relevant improvements,” said Dr. Werner Arber, president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which advises the pope on scientific matters. Arber is a Swiss molecular biologist who shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1978. He is the first non-Catholic to serve as head of the academy.
“Our Academy concluded that recently established methods of preparing transgenic organisms follow natural laws of biological evolution and bear no risks anchored in the methodology of genetic engineering,” he recently told the pope and an audience of bishops meeting in Rome. “The beneficial prospects for improving widely-used nutritional crops can be expected to alleviate the still-existing malnutrition and hunger in the human population of the developing world.” Read more.
As leaders met in Rome last week, the International Food Policy Research Institute released a report which chronicles 20 good ideas that have helped feed millions of people.
The report, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, showcased initiatives ranging from milk cooperatives among women farmers in India to land reform in China, and they demonstrate what it takes to boost food production.
World leaders and representatives also signed onto a declaration “to take urgent action to eradicate hunger from the world,” and recognized estimates that agricultural output will have to increase by 70 percent between now and 2050.
The entire article can be read herehere.
The International Food Policy Research Institute report can be read here.
The UN World Food Summit Declaration can be read here.
Paul B. Thompson, the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics At Michigan State University, calls on liberals and progressives to take a more objective look at the benefits of agricultural biotechnology, particularly in their ability to benefit farmers in developing countries.
Mr. Thompson said that understanding how agricultural biotechnology can benefit the poor is going to require a sophisticated and complex discourse and its success depends on people of good will taking the time to understand and consider the arguments in some detail.
Read the full story here.
Faced with increasing drought, farmers in Kenya’s eastern district of Mbeere South have started growing drought-tolerant crops to meet their food and subsistence needs instead of the staple maize.
Declining maize yields, due to climate variability and high fertilizer costs, have caused prices to soar. Four new drought-tolerant pigeon pea varieties are being piloted in Mbeere, and specialists say the crop will be able to grow in a variety of environments.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is providing farmers with free seeds, saying there is a need to increase planting of drought-tolerant crops. Read the full story here.