Improving Food Security Through Biotechnology

As the world’s population continue to grow at an alarming pace, from an estimated 9.7 billion in 2050 to 11.2 billion by 2100, so does the need to ensure food security especially for developing countries. Researchers now turn to biotechnology to address these concerns.

Advancements in food biotechnology have allowed researchers to transfer significant agronomic-efficient traits to other crops to increase yield such as in the case of pearl millet, a crop commonly grown and in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian countries. Food biotechnology methods also shorten the time needed to develop and release a food item which results to better yield since the plant no longer experiences prolonged exposure to harsh environmental conditions.

A biotechnological method known as biofortification is likewise used to increase the nutritional value of food. It can potentially address vitamin-related problems such as vitamin A deficiency, which is a common problem in the African region especially among children and pregnant women. Through this method, several countries in Africa are reaching the nutritional target for vitamin A, zinc, iron and many other vitamins through biofortified varieties of maize.

 

See full story in Borgen Magazine.