Developing countries and GM crops

Topic Selected: Biotech and Bioethics

General Article icon Type: General Article

Background

  • Projections are that food production currently could feed 6.5 billion (assuming perfectly efficient distribution) but that we will need to feed 9 billion by 2050.
  • We therefore need to double food production by 2050 (because of changes in diet in rapidly modernising countries like China).
  • Global food deficit predicted for 2020 - a relatively short period in terms of scientific advance and technological application.
  • Pests and diseases cause up to 40% losses in many tropical crops.
  • Cultural and dietary preferences in under-producing countries often differ from crops and varieties in over-producing countries, e.g. white and yellow maize, and locally within a country, e.g. basmati rice in India.
  • Grain reserves are historically low in relation to demand.
  • There are no major new prime lands for grain production (except possibly the Ukraine). Therefore, increases must come almost entirely

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