BIO is in Chicago for the 2010 BIO International Convention. Visit this space for updates direct from our food and ag sessions.
By Randy Krotz
The continued adoption rate of biotechnology-enhanced crops on farms around the globe is stunning and clear testimony to the value gained by each producer when making the decision on the type of seed they plant. The number of farmers choosing to produce genetically modified crops now exceeds 14 million.
At a 2010 BIO Conference session discussing the existing challenges in addressing world hunger, C.S. Prakash, Director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at Tuskegee University addressed the significance of biotech crops. “Many food problems that currently exist around the world can be addressed through biotechnology, and due to unwarranted concern the potential of the technology is only being scratched,” said Prakash.
The panel participants each overviewed their general observations regarding the impact politics have on acceptance of current and future biotech crops. The point was made and echoed that there is an absolute need to have science involved in political discussions, as politics without science can make for poor decisions.
Currently, there are at least 1 billion people on the planet that do not have enough food to meet their daily requirements. Biotechnology is absolutely critical in addressing hunger where disease and pests ravage crops. There are those that attempt to keep the regulatory approvals and adoption of biotech advancements in check regardless of their potential and proven productivity advantages. Advocacy organizations that seek to stand in the path of these scientific advancements work to create fear and doubt in the minds of politicians and consumers, therefore restricting the benefits these crops can have in feeding the planet.
Plant breeding is simply not an understood science. It’s generally not taught or discussed in our classrooms today, and plant line-crosses and modifications have been ongoing for a very, very long time. In fact, nothing we consume today grows naturally in the wild, vegetable or grain.
Biotechnology is a keen tool that is used to speed the plant breeding process with an undeniable level of precision. Keep in mind, over 2 billion acres of genetically modified crops have been grown and consumed without even one incidence related to human health.
Randy Krotz has 25 years experience in agricultural and biotechnology related marketing and communications. He has served as Director of Public Relations at Monsanto and the National Corn Growers Association. He is currently Senior Vice President at v-Fluence Interactive and can be reached at Randy.Krotz@v-Fluence.com.