Nov. 3, 2011
Addressing the CropWorld Conference in London, on the role that biotechnology will play in feeding future generations, Martin Brown, CEO of Intelligent Pest Management company, Exosect stated the great importance of biotechnology in agriculture but warned that it is not the only answer in addressing the complex challenge of food security.
With the population reaching the 7 billion mark earlier this week and forecasts that the population is set to rise to 9.1 billion by 2050, food security is an issue high up on government agendas. The majority of population growth is set to occur in developing countries where an estimated 800 million smallholders are cultivating small plots on less than two hectares of land. Collectively, this group supports up to two billion people, or a third of humanity, and produce half the world’s food according to ActionAid.
Brown cited the Green revolution led by Norman Borlaug in Mexico and Asia, where millions of lives were saved from starvation through the discovery of higher yielding plant breeds along with the introduction of pesticides, fertilizers, irrigation and farmer education programmes. “This is an example of how the whole range of modern technologies of the time helped to reform agriculture in the developing nations that also had the market structure to support it. Brown continued “Our industry is developing a wide range of wonderful innovations in agriculture but we must understand that there are no silver bullets. Therefore we must ensure that we employ a sustainable synthesis of all of the modern tools in a bio-conventional approach to feed future generations. This will include meeting the needs of small farmers in the developing nations where it will be most needed”.