Biotechnology in Agriculture: a sustainable tool in achieving food security
Farmers have always endeavoured to grow better, more abundant food crops and biotechnology has alwaysbeen a part of this in terms of selection and breeding. Researchers began to understand DNA over 100 yearsago, paving the way for continuous improvements in plant varieties and today, more than a decade since thefirst commercial plantings of biotech crops, there has been over one billion acres planted around the world.Monsanto is focused on delivering innovative products to farmers that help grow food more efficiently and ina more sustainable manner. Our products have changed the way food is grown, to the benefit of farmers, theenvironment and consumers.In seven of the last eight years, the world has consumed more grain than it produced. By 2050, say United
Nations’ experts, our planet must double food production to feed an anticipated population of 9.3 billion
at figure is 40 percent higher than today’s 6.6 billion.)
By some estimates, that means producingmore food in the next 50 years than has been grown in the last 10,000 years. This food security challengewill be even more difficult in the face of shrinking agricultural lands and increasingly variable climates.
Meeting this immense global challenge requires putting the best available tools into farmers’ capable hands.
Agricultural innovation is an important part of the solution and this includes the latest advances in breeding,improved agricultural practices and biotechnology.By 2030, Monsanto commits to help farmers produce more and conserve more by:
Developing improved seeds that help farmers double yields from 2000 levels for corn, soybeans,cotton, and spring-planted canola, with a $10 million grant pledged to improve wheat and rice yields.
Conserving resources through developing seeds that use one-third fewer key resources per unit of output to grow crops while working to lessen habitat loss and improve water quality.
Helping improve the lives of all farmers who use our products, including an additional five millionpeople in resource-poor farm families by 2020.In Australia, the benefits agricultural biotechnology offers are of critical importance to making theadvancements that help plants deal with a number of environmental stresses including drought and salinity.So far there are biotech crops commercially available in cotton, canola and carnations and the promise forthe future is great with enormous advances being made by many researchers in both private and publicorganisations.However, new technology and change often brings about interest and questions, especially when it involvesour food and environment. Because Monsanto is a leader in this field, our company and products are oftenthe subject of media reports and activist campaigns. Unfortunately the information provided by our critics isnot always balanced, or science based material, particularly in reference to intellectual property rights andpatenting of biotechnology innovations.Patent protection is used in many of the products consumers take for granted every day, such as computers,phones, cosmetics, medicines. In the field of biotechnology intellectual property rights are a criticalcomponent to drive ongoing discovery and development. Without patent protection for intellectualproperty research and innovation would grind to a halt. Patent protection encourages the investment intoresearch that is necessary to helping agriculture improve and enhance productivity in a sustainable manner.Biotechnology patent protection drives competition and generates urgency among the numerous researchorganisations who are actively competing for the next discovery and the next innovation.