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Will agricultural innovation help sustain our food supplies?



EuropaBio, 6 Avenue de l’Armée, Brussels, 1000, Belgium


Food production and hunger have only recently re-discovered their status as high priority issues. It is widely agreed by international organisations that food production must increase by up to 70 percent by 2050 in order to feed to world’s growing population. A wide array of tools and techniques will be necessary to meet this challenge, including biotechnology and other plant science innovations.

A wise man once said: “civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply” (1). That wise man was Norman Borlaug, also known as the Father of the Green Revolution, whose lifelong commitment to sharing agricultural technologies and techniques with developing countries made a difference to the lives of millions of people. His commitment was met with strong support and cooperation from many leaders, and that was part of what made the difference. Thanks to his work, production in developing countries more than doubled between the years 1961-1985 (2). His statement is just as true today: an adequate food supply is essential to meeting one of the most basic human needs. However, food security and agriculture have not necessarily always remained high priorities for global leaders.

Aside from the usual lip service of leaders and the continued commitment of development and agricultural specialists, food production and hunger have only recently re-discovered their status as high priority issues as they were in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2011, the Arab Spring hinged partly on the food price spike; for example, food prices ...

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