Biotechnology in Agriculture: a sustainable tool in achieving food security Farmers have always endeavoured to grow better, more abundant food crops and biotechnology has always been a part of this in terms of selection and breeding. Researchers began to understand DNA over 100 years ago, paving the way for continuous improvements in plant varieties and today, more than a decade since the first 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 in a more sustainable manner. Our products have changed the way food is grown, to the benefit of farmers, the environment 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 people. (That figure is 40 percent higher than today’s 6.6 billion.) By some estimates, that means producing more food in the next 50 years than has been grown in the last 10,000 years. This food security challenge will 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 million people in resource-poor farm families by 2020.

In Australia, the benefits agricultural biotechnology offers are of critical importance to making the advancements 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 for the future is great with enormous advances being made by many researchers in both private and public organisations. However, new technology and change often brings about interest and questions, especially when it involves our food and environment. Because Monsanto is a leader in this field, our company and products are often the subject of media reports and activist campaigns. Unfortunately the information provided by our critics is not always balanced, or science based material, particularly in reference to intellectual property rights and patenting 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 critical component to drive ongoing discovery and development. Without patent protection for intellectual property research and innovation would grind to a halt. Patent protection encourages the investment into research 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 research organisations who are actively competing for the next discovery and the next innovation.

We have invested heavily in the expertise, technology and scientific processes associated with indentifying genes of interest, transferring these genes into elite, commercial plant varieties, and having them express the desired characteristic or trait in the appropriate part of the plant at the right stage of plant development. Our innovations in the area of biotechnology are amongst the best in the world, a direct result of the patents enabling a return on our investment that can be then re-invested into our research program. Monsanto’s aim is to get the best technology to farmers in the best seeds. Sometimes that involves licensing patented technology from other organizations including public organizations and vice versa. Patents guarantee that the crop innovation pipeline will continue to flow and this applies to both the public and private sectors. Monsanto has a policy of broadly licensing its technology to research and academic institutions, other biotech and seed companies as well as licensing technology from these organisations. This means farmers get the combination of the best technology in the best seeds from a variety of seed suppliers. For example, in Australia, Monsanto does not sell seed. We license our technologies to five seed companies who sell their own seeds with and without our technology. With canola there are currently about 70 varieties commercially available – only 8 incorporate our technology. So growers can choose whether or not they want to utilize our products. If they make the decision to use a Monsanto technology farmers can then choose which seed company and which variety they wish to plant. Agriculture in developing countries has benefited greatly from patented biotechnology. A majority of the 14 million farmers who planted biotech seeds in 2009 were in developing countries. This shows that patents have not affected the availability or affordability of biotechnology in developing countries that have a functioning regulatory process. Monsanto is also heavily involved in the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project (WEMA), a project to bring improved, high yielding corn seed to small resource poor farmers in several African countries. The project is being led by AATF, an African not-for-profit organization delivering agricultural technologies to local, resource-poor farmers. Our contribution includes contributing our drought tolerance technology royalty-free and a team of 16 African based Monsanto scientists. In the next 12 months, pending regulatory approvals, scientists will be able to proceed with the planting of new biotech trials in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Mozambique will also take steps toward the development of testing sites and secure regulatory approvals with a goal of planting in 2011. At Monsanto, we’re proud to play a part in this public-private partnership and are confident WEMA will help address some of the critical needs of more than 260 million people in Africa, many of whom are smallholder farmers, who suffer from chronic hunger. Visit the AATF Web site website for more information - www.aatf-africa.org/wema, or the Monsanto website for details of our participation - www.monsanto.com/wema. For more information on Monsanto and our products please visit our corporate website – www.monsanto.com and our Australian website – www.monsanto.com.au or you can contact:
Keryn McLean Corporate Affairs Lead Monsanto Australia Ltd Ph: +613 9522 7122

Monsanto is committed to sustainable agriculture in Australia. Our technologies help farmers use fewer resources to grow more.

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