High adoption of biotech crops recorded in 2016

In 2016, the global area of biotech crops reached 185.1 million hectares, according to a research paper authored by Drs. Rhodora Aldemita and Randy Hautea of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). The results of their study are published on February 2, 2018 in GM Crops and Food. Read more

GMO crops could help stem famine and future global conflicts

When most of us think about the threats posed by climate change, events like floods, droughts, intense storms and hotter temperatures come to mind.  These are all, according to the vast majority of scientists, exactly what we can expect to see more and more of.  However, what is often overlooked are the sociopolitical consequences of these climatic changes.  In other words, we tend to view these natural disasters in a vacuum without recognizing the myriad ways in which climate change is both directly and indirectly shaping economies, cultures and governments. Read more

Professor Calestous Juma: Advocate for innovation

Professor Calestous Juma: June 9, 1953 – Dec. 15, 2017

To outsiders, Calestous Juma’s rise from humble origins in a remote Kenyan village to an internationally recognized Harvard scholar, science writer and public intellectual, might have seemed improbable. But as Juma himself liked to tell the story, he learned innovation from his parents, whose poverty meant that they constantly had to change to survive.

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ICRISAT shares insights on using agricultural biotechnology to facilitate healthy and sustainable consumer food choices

The 2017 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium held recently in Iowa had a strong ICRISAT presence. ICRISAT’s Ambassador of Goodwill Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina was honored as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate in the main event and at one of the sub-events, the crucial role agricultural biotechnology plays in facilitating nutritious, healthy and sustainable consumer food choices was underlined by ICRISAT scientist Dr Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur. The theme of the symposium was ‘The Road out of Poverty’.

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Europe still burns witches — if they’re named Monsanto

So Monsanto has dodged the bullet — for now. The European Union has just voted to relicense the controversial herbicide glyphosate — marketed as Roundup — for another five years. That’s far less than the 15 years initially sought, but much better than the total immediate ban sought by some countries and legions of vocal environmental activists.

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Assuring food security

A range of biotechnological approaches, including both traditional techniques and modern interventions, can contribute towards achieving food and nutrition security. 

The words of Noble Laureate and father of the Green Revolution Norman Borlaug, “You cannot create a peaceful world on empty stomachs,” ring true in the present times, when we are facing the mammoth task of feeding a growing population, expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

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Biotech crops reduce use of pesticides–experts

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that up to 35 percent of the losses in the annual crop production worldwide are due to pests—insects, weeds, plant diseases, rodents and birds.  Of the estimated 1 million insects in the world, between 150 and  200 species frequently cause serious damage to crops.

When losses due to pests are combined with postharvest losses, worldwide food losses would amount to 45 percent. “This is almost one half of the world’s potential food supply,” the FAO pointed out. Read more

Genetic Engineering — Its global benefits now and beyond

Agriculture could be defined as the manipulation of plant and animal DNA to suit the needs of humans. We have been changing the DNA of our food for 10,000 years. For most of agricultural history, we’ve had no idea what DNA changes occurred in our food. The discovery of recombinant DNA technologies in the 1970s began to change that. For the past 20 years we have been using genetic engineering (GE) to engineer precise DNA changes in our food.

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Food security needs more from GM crops

Only a better understanding of fundamental plant processes can exploit the potential of GM technology to create higher yielding, more resilient food crops

Genetic modification of plants will be essential to avert future food shortages, conclude a group of agricultural scientists who have reviewed how biotechnology developments over the past 35 years have shaped the efficiency of crop production.

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Gates grant seeds Cornell Alliance for Science $10M campaign

The Cornell Alliance for Science is launching a “$10M by 2020” campaign, seeded with a $6.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Funds raised during the campaign will support the Alliance’s global efforts to ensure broad access to agricultural innovation, especially among small-holder farmers in developing nations.

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Agricultural biotechnologies to fight poverty and improve food security in Asia-Pacific: FAO

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said that the smallholder farmers in the world’s hungriest and most populous region need greater access to biotechnologies to improve food and nutrition security and fight poverty

FAO urges countries in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt a more holistic approach and consider the wider range of low-to-high-tech solutions present in the biotechnology toolbox to achieve the food and nutrition security in the region. Read more

Experts find climate-skeptic and anti-GMO studies are scientifically flawed

Although many papers have been published claiming that genetically engineered (GMO) foods are harmful and that humans aren’t changing the climate, not a single one of them stands up to rigorous scientific scrutiny.

With the recent uptick in extreme weather events around the world — exemplified by catastrophic flooding in Nigeria, Houston and India, all in the same week, followed by multiple hurricanes in the Atlantic — climate change is back in the headlines, and with it a resurgence of skeptical claims denying the existence of an international scientific consensus on global warming.

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Of Rice and Men: Cultivating the Next Green Revolution

Yogendra Sahoo makes all of his income from cultivating rice in his 5-acre farm in the Jajpur District of Odisha, India. His village is situated a bit above the coast, and every year Sahoo’s crops face rain, water scarcity, and damage from submergence. In 2015, he was the first farmer in his village to grow BINA Dhan 11, a submergence-tolerant rice variety developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Philippines. While most farmers faced a yield of 1,700 kg per acre for different varieties, Sahoo gained 1,200 kg per half an acre.

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