Singapore, 11 July 2018 – As Asia and others around the globe recognize World Population Day, CropLife Asia and the region’s plant science industry repledged their commitment to provide farmers with agricultural innovations that can help them grow more food to feed the growing population while tackling challenges such as the increasing impact of climate change. World Population Day is celebrated each year to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the global population is expected to reach roughly 10 billion by 2050. To meet the population growth demands, the FAO also estimates food production will have to increase by 50% globally.
Meanwhile, the detrimental effect climate change is having on farmers trying to produce more food presents a growing dilemma. Studies show climate change could cause a decline of as much as 23% in production across major crops such as maize, wheat, rice and soybeans by 2050. Due to climate change, the protein content for staple crops like barley, rice, wheat and potatoes is also vulnerable to reduction. Other research indicates that zinc and iron content of staple crops could also be impacted; specifically, iron concentrations with maize are projected to fall by as much as 10% according to International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). This development would put around 1.4 billion children at risk of major iron deficiencies by 2050.
“Ensuring farmers are equipped to produce more food for a growing population is not a responsibility for one industry on World Population Day alone, it’s a commitment all food chain stakeholders share together every single day of the year,” said Dr. Siang Hee Tan, Executive Director of CropLife Asia. “The plant science industry in Asia takes this commitment very seriously and continues to work with regional governments, civil society and others to help farmers produce more food in face of increasing challenges and with fewer impacts on the world around us.”
Since the adoption of biotech crops in 1996, 183 million hectares of land have been saved from plowing and cultivation. Additionally, global economic gains contributed by biotech crops from 1996-2016 helped alleviate poverty through uplifting the economic situation of 16-17 million smallholder farmers and their families worldwide.
The innovations of crop protection technology are also helping farmers not only produce abundant, safe, quality food at affordable prices but also increase yields. Since 1960, crop protection products have helped triple the production of major crops. Food crops compete with 30,000 species of weeds, 3,000 species of nematodes and 10,000 species of plant-eating insects, all of which if left unmitigated would destroy up to 40% of the world’s food production each year.
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 seven member companies at the forefront of crop protection, seeds and/or biotechnology research and development. For more information, visit us at www.croplifeasia.org.
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