At the 2014 Grocery Manufacturers Association’s (GMA) Science Forum, the State Department’s senior advisor for biotechnology, Jack Bobo, reminded attendees of the importance of developing countries having access to much-needed agricultural tools.
“We need to see [biotechnology] products that matter to people,” he said. “We need to see products where consumers and farmers are begging for the technology.” That’s happening in Bangladesh, he added.
Bobo’s panel titled “Global Issues: Can Agriculture Save the Planet Before It Destroys It?” focused on the role of social media and how a hyper-connected world may determine if agriculture will save the planet by 2050 or will our media experience with GMOs serve as an indicator that we are in for a bumpy ride.
Jenny Hopkinson of Politico covered Bobo’s presentation, which demonstrated how GM eggplant is a prime example of agriculture “saving the world.”
“A new genetically modified, pest resistant eggplant being cultivated in Bangladesh is being touted as an example of how to gain acceptance for biotechnology and still promote cultural and environmental ends. Eggplant farmers in Bangladesh must use more than 50 pesticide treatments in a season to keep the crop or risk losing 50-70 percent of their harvests to pests,” he said.
This year’s Forum took place April 6-9 in Washington, D.C. and was themed “Sound Science, Smart Policy and Safe Solutions”. The keynote for the Forum was Michael R. Taylor, J.D., Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.