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

Integrated approach required to tackle climate change: Expert

Continuous efforts such as genetic improvements, integrated farming approach and use of balanced natural resources were required to tackle the effects of climate change on crop, animal and fish productivity, agriculture scientist C D Mayee said today.

Continuous efforts such as genetic improvements, integrated farming approach and use of balanced natural resources were required to tackle the effects of climate change on crop, animal and fish productivity, agriculture scientist CD Mayee said today. The worst sufferer of climate change shall be crop, animal and fish productivity and one-time adaptation response was not enough to mitigate the problem, Mayee, former Chairman of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board, said.

Delivering his address at the 38th Convocation of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) here, he said continuous efforts like genetic improvements, agronomic manipulations, integrated farming approach, use of balanced natural resources and timely intervention can be helpful.

“We may have to adopt new breeding technologies such as genetic transformation, gene editing, GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) for quicker development of new cultivars that could adapt to changing climate,” he said.

However, this might need public acceptance as the consumer was also dictating the terms of research in today’s social order, Mayee said.

The other issue that needed attention was the suppression of scientific temper by selective onslaught on the certain technology generation, he said.

Agricultural biotechnology had a considerable potential to address many of the future challenges in agriculture, including post-harvest issues and value addition, he said.

Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd (TAFE) Chief Executive Officer Mallika Srinivasan was conferred Doctor of Science (honoris causa) for her contribution to global agriculture, machinery business and academia.

Mallika is the first woman from the country’s tractor industry to be conferred the honour, which was presented by state Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao. Degrees were presented to 988 candidates in person and 356 in absentia at the convocation, attended among others by TNAU Pro-Chancellor and state Agriculture Minister R Doraikannu.

-Published in Financial Express.  See original article link here.

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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APEC seeks boost to food security, sustainable agriculture growth

Viet Nam News CẦN THƠ – Việt Nam strongly support promoting co-operation in water management for sustainable agricultural development among APEC members, a senior Vietnamese official told the first APEC Water Resources Authorities Meeting for Food Security that opened in Cần Thơ yesterday. Read more

Climate change, agriculture, and food security

Recently 60 delegates from 22 Asian countries took part in a workshop organized by the United Nations in Manila to map out national adaptation plans or NAPs, which are the main vehicles of countries for climate change adaptation including accessing climate finance. This is quite significant in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of America from the Paris Agreement, which binds countries to fight climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.

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Climate-smart rice helps farmers face climate change

Stress-tolerant rice varieties can help farmers face the challenges of climate change, according to Matthew Morell, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Morell stressed this during his Millenium Lecture at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India on February 10, 2017. Furthermore, he labeled rice as “the engine of food security” since more than half of the world’s population consider rice as their daily staple food. Thus, the efforts of rice scientists to improve rice are vital in addressing hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.

Morell also discussed the climate change-ready rice varieties developed by IRRI and its partners, which produce high yields and at the same time tolerant to flooding, drought, and saline soils.

Read the news article from IRRI.

-Published in ISAAA’s Crop Biotech Update.  See original article link here.

Climate-smart rice key to farmer resilience, says IRRI head

CHENNAI, India – Stress-tolerant rice varieties can help make farmers more resilient against the increasingly destructive effects of climate change, said Matthew Morell, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Delivering the Millenium Lecture at the M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai on 10 February,  Morell described rice as “the engine of food security,” citing that more than half of the world’s population—or nearly four billion people—eat rice as their daily staple.

IRRI’s research activities, conducted in collaboration with national governments, have resulted in high-yielding improved varieties that saved Asia from famines in the 1960s and 70s.

More recently, with the onslaught of climate change, IRRI and its partners have developed high-yielding rice varieties tolerant of environmental stresses such as flooding, drought, and soil salinity. Morell called the “climate change-ready rice varieties,” which have been deployed in stress-prone areas of India, as an important part of helping farmers become more resilient.

The MSSRF is a nonprofit trust founded by M.S. Swaminathan, World Food Prize awardee in 1987 and former IRRI director general. It serves as a research center on sustainable agriculture and rural development.

-Published in IRRI.  See original article link here.

Contribution of biotech crops to food security, sustainability, and climate change

Contribution of biotech crops to food security, sustainability, and climate change

From 1996 to 2014, biotech crops contributed to Food Security, Sustainability and the Environment/Climate Change by: increasing crop production valued at US$150 billion; providing a better environment, by saving 584 million kg a.i. of pesticides; in 2014 alone, reducing CO2 emissions by 27 billion kg, equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road for one year; conserving biodiversity by saving 152 million hectares of land from 1996-2014; and helped alleviate poverty for ~16.5 million small farmers and their families totaling ~65 million people, who are some of the poorest people in the world. Biotech crops are essential but are not a panacea – adherence to good farming practices such as rotations and resistance management, are a must for biotech crops as they are for conventional crops.

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Source: ISAAA Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology (http://isaaa.org/kc)