Experts Discuss the Safety & Benefits of Plant Biotechnology by Ranjana Smetacek

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Published on March 9, 2014

Author: cheerfulnucleus73



REASON #1: Using GM crops, farmers is effective in reducing pesticide spraying, decrease greenhous...

Experts Discuss the Safety & Benefits of Plant Biotechnology by Ranjana Smetacek REASON #1: Using GM crops, farmers is effective in reducing pesticide spraying, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase yields. Evidence will continue to accumulate regarding how genetically modified food crops are helping to preserve the planet. "Here we have a very versatile technology, that has the energy and the capability to bring about an even more effective, a far more benign, an even more sustainable agriculture," says Dr. Clive James, an agricultural scientist and founder of the not-fo-profit International Service for that Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). For example, insect-resistant (Bt) crops offer an option to, and reduce the use of, agricultural pesticides like insecticides and fungicides. Since Bt corn and cotton have the ability to produce their particular protection against specially targeted pests, farmers can help to eliminate how much pesticides necessary to control them. Since 1996, farmers have reduced pesticide applications by 172,000 metric tons being a direct result of genetically modified food crops. "What's been amazing to many of us is we've seen advances that even were beyond our wildest expectations," says Dr. Roger Beachy regarding genetically engineered plants. Dr. Beachy can be a researcher and founding president in the not-for-profit Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. "We all knew it was theoretically possible, but to truly get it done and deploy it to the field. And then, at the end of 4 or 5 years, report that it's an edge of accelerating yields reducing the use of agriculture chemicals by 50 million pounds a year. It's an astounding number." This reduction in using pesticides has consequently reduced the fuel, water and packaging that are accustomed to manufacture, distribute and apply pesticides. Typical savings range from the reduction of diesel fuel that is used in manufacturing, shipping and storing insecticides; the conservation of water utilised by farmers when applying pesticides; the elimination of tractor and aviation fuel also found in applications; as well as a lowering of the waste generated through the

disposal of packaging. Herbicide-tolerant crops have enabled farmers to work with more benign herbicides that rapidly dissipate in soil and water. In addition, herbicide-tolerant crops have spurred the adoption of no till farming ? the reduction or reduction of plowing to take out weeds and disturb the soil for planting. The environmentally beneficial tillage practices conserve topsoil, preserving soil moisture and reducing runoff; decrease the relieve greenhouse gas emissions; and build and improve habitats for birds along with other wildlife. Genetically modified food crops also aid in producing more food for a passing fancy quantity of land, which cuts down on the need to clear additional land for cultivation. This ends in less effect on prairies, wetlands, forests and also other fragile ecosystems that might well be converted for agricultural purposes. "Production in Brazil has risen significantly without great increases in the region needed for agriculture. There is great pressure currently concerning certain environments, like the Brazilian mountainous regions along with the wetlands, the Amazon region," says Dr. Francisco Arag?o, senior researcher in Genetic Research and Biotechnology at Embrapa in Brazil. "One with the ways we help preserve these areas is simply by increasing productivity and never having to increase the quantity of land useful for agriculture." Scientists agree that habitat destruction may be the biggest single threat to biodiversity. Producing increasing amounts of food without increasing arable land features a major impact on protecting wildlife habitats. "Biodiversity is crucial for all life that is known. And many agriculture ? including organic farming ? is really a threat to biodiversity," says Dr. Klaus Ammann about the significance of biodiversity. Dr. Ammann can be an honorary professor emeritus and former director in the Botanical Garden on the University of Bern in Switzerland. "There a wide range of ways of doing better in agriculture, but one from the most efficient and best ways is biotechnology." "I've studied this carefully, and also the evidence is rather clear on certain points," says The Honorable Lord Taverne on the safety of genetically modified foods. Lord Taverne is really a member in the House of Lords in the United Kingdom Parliament and founder of the charity Sense about Science. "It's reduced the usage of pesticides. It produces greater productivity. And, whether or not this reduces the amount of farmland you have to work with, it may sometimes be very helpful to biodiversity." REASON #2: Increased yield and income from biotech crops adds to the total well being for farmers in developing countries. Small- and large-scale family farms worldwide are making the most of increased yields, reduced production costs, or both in some instances to produce significantly improved net economic returns as being a results of genetically modified food crops. "If you look in the adoption of biotech crops since 1996, this has been on a significant upward curve in terms of the area planted. And the main driver of this continues to be the cost-effective benefits that farmers have produced by

it ? US$28 billion importance of extra farm income on the farmers who may have used the technology," says Graham Brookes about the features of biotechnology in agriculture. Brookes can be an agricultural economist and director of PG Economics in England. "Now that rise in farm income has been spread across every one of the countries who have used the technology, both in the developed world and in developing countries." Of the 10.3 million farmers who planted biotech crops in 22 countries in 2006, 90 percent were small, resource-poor farmers from 11 developing countries including Argentina, Brazil, China, Columbia, Honduras, India, Mexico, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa and Uruguay. In these areas, the increased income from biotech crops produces a contribution on the economics of family farms along with the alleviation of poverty. "Poverty today is often a rural phenomenon. 80 percent in the poor people that individuals dress in this planet today are farmers or people who work on farms," explains Dr. James. "So, therefore, if you're able to introduce biotech crops which will raise the earnings of they will, then you are creating a direct contribution for the alleviation of poverty." "If we give important technologies growing more food in poor places ? better seed varieties, possible ways to deal with soil nutrients, possible ways to handle plant pathogens ? it's going to produce livelihoods. It's going to make income inside villages. It's gonna convert precisely what is now subsubsistence agriculture into commercial farming. ? helping the poorest in the poor to get a sustainable future by themselves," says Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in regards to the pros of genetically modified foods in alleviating hunger in developing countries. Dr. Sachs could be the director in the Earth Institute and in the United Nations Millennium Project. As agricultural productivity increases inside developing world, additionally, it drives economic growth and expands opportunities to trade, resulting in more and jobs, better medical care and education. "We interviewed 10,000 farmers spread across India," says Dr. Laveesh Bhandari, economist and director of Indicus Analytics in India. "What our study shows is that the effect on overall development from the household and the community is pretty phenomenal in Bt cottonproducing areas. Greater incomes, greater access to healthcare services, greater education, and so on many different dimensions ? find that Bt cotton production helps to make the farmer, your family and the community best." Global population projections claim that by 2020, there'll be an additional 1.2 billion people around the planet, that's equivalent to the population of Africa and South America combined. "Looking ahead towards the year 2050, we are going to ought to produce the meals and fiber for something approaching 10 billion people," says Dr. Norman Borlaug, the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient for his leadership role inside the Green Revolution to boost food production. "Can we undertake it? I say yes. If we carry on and develop technology ? including more frequent use of biotechnology." (c) 2007 Monsanto Company. All rights reserved. The copyright holder consents to using this fabric and also the images inside the published context only and solely to the purpose of promoting some great benefits of agricultural biotechnology. Ranjana Smetacek will be the director of Global Biotech Acceptance for Monsanto. On the net at

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