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.

SCIENTISTS DEVELOP CUTTING EDGE APPROACH TO PROTECT HONEY BEES

by: CropLife International

Consumers rely on farmers to deliver everything from fruit to nuts, but farmers need the help of the honey bee to help pollinate these food crops around the world. In order to continue delivering consumers their watermelons and blueberries in the future, farmers and researchers are working together to look for new ways to ensure the well-being of honey bees.

The 11th annual national survey of honey bee colonies was recently released and reports of seasonal honey bee losses across the United States continue to be of great concern. The Varroa mite – a parasite that attaches to the body of a honey bee or honey bee larva, weakening the bee’s immune system and spreading viruses – is thought to be a leading contributor to honey bee losses. Finding safe and sustainable solutions to control these dangerous parasitic mites is critical and scientists at Monsanto are researching a product that aims to control Varroa mite infestations, improving bee health and colony survival.

Jerry Hayes

The product is fed to honey bees in a sugar syrup that can dial down gene activity through a natural process called RNA interference, which can suppress the mite’s gene, but is harmless to honey bees. The appeal of this approach is the ability to target just the Varroa mite, while reducing the application of chemical pesticides in honey bee colonies. Controlling the Varroa mite, safely and sustainably, is the goal of all of us in modern agriculture.

Field trials with the product will be conducted in 2017 throughout beekeeping areas of North America. If successful, it may take the might out of the mite.

 

Jerry Hayes is Honey Bee Health Lead at Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Mo.

 

TOP 5 VIDEOS ON PLANT SCIENCE IMPROVING FARMERS’ LIVES

 

By: CropLife International

For 1.3 billion people working in agriculture around the world, farming is their primary source of income, so a harvest devastated by poor conditions can greatly impact their livelihoods. Having access to the latest plant science technologies not only helps these farmers better control pests and difficult conditions, but also improve their incomes and their lives. Hear from some farmers on how improved technologies have allowed them to invest more into their farms, create better lives and enjoy more free time.

 

01

U.S. Farmer Bill Horan says that biotechnology has given farm families one of the most precious gifts of all: time. “Part of that time I’m with my family, which allows me to be a better husband and a better father … those are gifts that were never part of the intention of the biotech revolution but they are absolutely changing rural America.”

 

 

02

“I learned about agrochemicals and how they are applied, and based on that, my yield has increased three-fold,” notes Honduran farmer Celia Mejia Dominguez. “In the past, we didn’t even have running water. Now I see a future for my children.”

03

Biotech cotton has dramatically improved profits and therefore, the livelihood of Indian farmer Goginei Brahmayya. “We are now economically sound and now have good food to eat and better clothes to wear,” he says. The extra income also allowed him to pay for his daughter’s master degree.

 

 

05

Honduran farmer Emiliano Dominguez credits agricultural training and technologies with his livelihood as he says his farm would have no profit without them. “I am really happy for my children, because they now have all these things I didn’t have when I was growing up,” he says.

 

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.