Category Archives: Feature Section

FAO Focus on “Food Security” this World Food Day Supported by CropLife Asia

Singapore, 16 October 2017 – This World Food Day CropLife Asia commended the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for its efforts to bring greater awareness to the need for Food Security in combatting global hunger, and took the opportunity to herald the contributions farmers enabled by plant science technologies are making in Asia and around the world are making to feed a growing population.

According to data from the FAO, world hunger is on the rise with an estimated number of undernourished people increasing from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. Meanwhile, the Food Security situation has also visibly worsened in parts of the world, including South Eastern and Western Asia.

“The number of people in Asia without adequate access to a safe and nutritious food supply is growing – and that’s simply unacceptable,” said Dr. Siang Hee Tan. “The responsibility to ensure everyone has enough healthy food to eat is a shared one. The plant science industry fully supports the FAO in the pursuit of wiping out world hunger, and is committed to ensuring farmers in Asia are empowered and enabled to produce more food for a growing population.”

According to the UN, the world’s population is projected to exceed nine billion inhabitants by the year 2050, and Asia alone is expected to have roughly one billion more people living within it[1].

Growers around the world will need to produce as much as 70% more food than today to meet the expected needs of our population by 2050 while facing a host of obstacles including climate change. The numerous innovations of plant biotechnology and crop protection will be key in driving sustainable production of a safe and nutritious food supply to feed our growing population.

“FAO numbers indicate that 85% of the world’s 525 million smallholder farmers live and work within our continent,” added Dr. Tan. “These farmers are crucial to combatting hunger in Asia; they deserve our support and access to the latest technological tools to grow more food with fewer natural resources.”

Crop protection products prevent nearly 40% of global rice and maize harvests from being lost every year[2]. Meanwhile, biotech crops helped slow the advance of climate change by reducing carbon emissions.  For example, it is estimated biotech crop plantings in 2015 reduced carbon emissions by 26.7 billion kg which is equivalent to taking 11.9 million cars off the road for one year.[3]

About CropLife Asia

CropLife Asia is a non-profit society and the regional organization of CropLife International, the voice of the global plant science industry.  We advocate a safe, secure food supply, and our vision is food security enabled by innovative agriculture.  CropLife Asia supports the work of 15 member associations across the continent and is led by eight member companies at the forefront of crop protection, seeds and/or biotechnology research and development.  For more information, visit us at www.croplifeasia.org

For more information please contact:

Duke Hipp                                                                                      

Director, Public Affairs                                                                 

CropLife Asia                                                                  

Tel: (65) 6221 1615                                                                                                    

duke.hipp@croplifeasia.org

[1] United Nations, Population Division, World Population Prospects
[2] Oerke, E.C., 2006, “Crop losses to pests,” Journal of Agricultural Science, vol. 144
[3] International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) Brief 52 – 2016

TOP FIVE WAYS PLANT SCIENCE BENEFITS NATURE

By: CropLife International

01

Up to 50,000 square kilometers of soil is lost every year to soil erosion so plant scientists are working hard to stop it. In Canada, for example, farmers who planted herbicide-tolerant canola without tillage reduced soil erosion by 86 percent.

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02

Herbicide-tolerant biotech crops enable farmers to use herbicides instead of tillage (turning over soil) for weed control. This leaves crop stubble in the field, which improves habitat and food sources for insects, birds and other animals.

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03

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that around 1 billion people in dry regions may face increasing water scarcity in the near future. To address this challenge, plant scientists have developed biotech crops with drought-tolerant and water use efficiency traits. Moreover, with no-till farming, thanks to herbicide-tolerant systems, farmers can increase soil moisture by as much as 24 percent.

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04

Biotechnology and crop protection products allow farmers to grow more food on existing farmland . Between 1996 and 2015, biotechnology alone was responsible for additional global production of 574 million tonnes of crops, predominantly soybeans, maize, cotton and canola. As a result, 174 million hectares of farmland expansion was prevented.

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05

Herbicide-tolerant crops allow for no-till farming which leaves soil undisturbed and carbon in the ground. With the use of such biotech crops from 1996 to 2015, nearly 27 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions were not released into the atmosphere – equivalent to taking 11.9 million cars off the road for one year.

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Working together, biotech crops and crop protection products contribute to sustainable agriculture by increasing production on the current 1.5 billion hectares of global crop land, allowing for no-till farming and more efficient use of natural resources.

IMPROVING THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF CROPS

By: CropLife International

How can biotechnology and crop protection products enhance the content and availability of nutritious foods, thereby improving human nutrition? Dr. Martina Newell-McGloughlin, director of research for higher education, Abu Dhabi Education Council, talks about potential of plant science to improve public health.

 

STUDY ANALYZES 17 YEARS OF MODERN BIOTECH NEWS REPORTING IN THE PHILIPPINES

By: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)

The Philippine media developed a matured editorial position over 17 years of modern biotechnology reporting, according to the new publication of ISAAA titled From Fear to Facts: 17 Years of Agri-biotech Reporting in the Philippines (2000-2016). The publication is based on a study conducted by ISAAA and SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center published in the April 2017 issue of Philippine Journal of Crop Science.

The initial 10-year study (2000-2009) authored by Dr. Mariechel Navarro and colleagues showed that majority of the reports from the top newspapers, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Philippine Star were about the development and commercialization of biotech corn in the Philippines. The coverage was high in terms of the number of articles, but sensationalism and speculations were evident, since a biotech crop was just introduced and commercialized in the country. Negative metaphors such as “frankenfood” and “poison” were commonly used in the initial years of reporting. The follow up study (2010-2016) conducted by Kristine Grace Tome, Dr. Navarro, and colleagues showed that the use of fear metaphors declined, and an increasing effort to present science-based information became more evident in the succeeding years. More positive metaphors such as “new hope”, “answer to farmers’ dreams”, and “light of hope” were used in the articles depicting favorable potential or promise of the technology. Bt eggplant development and field trial case sparked the interest of journalists to write about biotechnology. Articles from Business Mirror were also included in the analysis of 2010-2016 articles due to its high coverage on biotechnology.

Media practitioners and scientists were encouraged to continue to collaborate to sustain media coverage of biotechnology in the Philippines. With the increasing use of social media, a new breed of information seekers and producers could help revolutionize discourses on biotechnology not just in the Philippines, but also in other countries.

Download the publication from the ISAAA website. Get a copy of the research article for more details.

This article was published in ISAAA’s Crop Biotech Update.  See original article link here.