Hungry?!? No? Lots are! Biotech is key tool for preventing world hunger

November 25, 2011

A great commentary in the November 2011 issue of Nature by my most brilliant Twitter friend/colleague Calestous Juma.  Good message here, folks! 

“Preventing hunger: Biotechnology is key” (article attached)

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Key quotes:

“…without the advances in molecular biology and other scientific fields that occurred in the second half of the twentieth century, African nations would be much worse offthan they are now…[with] crop yields in developing countries … 23.5% lower and prices between 35% and 66% higher in 2000.”

“At present, only a few African countries are allowed to grow genetically modified (GM) crops, partly because of restrictive national biosafety policies that impose excessive regulatory barriers to the adoption of agricultural biotechnology. This must change.”


“…GM critics are wrong to conclude that because biotechnology does not solve all problems, it has no place in helping humanity to address long-term food needs.”

“…excluding technological options that raise productivity will do more harm than good. The international community would be better served by taking a pragmatic approach that accommodates the best available technological options, rather than relying on ideological political positions…”

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Positive impact of commercialized GM crops… a new article in April issue of Nature Biotechnology

Peer-reviewed surveys indicate positive impact of commercialized GM crops


Janet E Carpenter

Nature Biotechnology

“…. [The] analysis summarizes results from 49 peer-reviewed publications reporting on farmer surveys that compare yields and other indicators of economic performance for adopters and non-adopters of currently commercialized GM crops. The surveys cover GM insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant crops, which account for >99% of global GM crop area. Results from 12 countries indicate, with few exceptions, that GM crops have benefitted farmers. The benefits, especially in terms of increased yields, are greatest for the mostly small farmers in developing countries, who have benefitted from the spillover of technologies originally targeted at farmers in industrialized countries.”