A new report has been published by the Belfar Center for Science and International Affairs, entitled “Feeding The Next Generation: Science, Business and Public Policy.” Inspired by a global panel event held in February 2010 in association with CropLife International, Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) and Council of Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), the paper supports the legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug and his commitment to eradicating hunger through scientific innovation in agriculture. It assesses both the risks and benefits of utilising biotechnology to enhance crop yield, and urges the beginning of a ‘Second Green Revolution’ in order to meet the increasingly urgent demand for food, feed, fuel and fibre.
As global demand for food is expected to double by 2050, agricultural productivity will need to increase significantly. Climate change presents a further challenge as more frequent and extreme weather events affect our food supply, our infrastructure and our livelihoods. The report explains how scientific innovation offers the best solution to increase agricultural productivity:
Modern, science‐driven farming including genetically modified crops represents our best chance of generating the increases in agricultural productivity necessary to feed our future.
The paper explores agricultural productivity strategies in the past, present and future as well as detailing the wealth of technological advancements available to combat world hunger, which are deemed “critical” by editor Calestous Juma, Director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project at Harvard Kennedy School.
It also outlines the challenges science-based approaches to global agriculture face, most notably the lack of universal acceptance of genetically modified crops and the precautionary regulatory regimes in both Europe and low-income, developing countries that are inhibiting the research, development, and use of genetically modified crops.
The report argues that the challenge to food security can be met by enhanced agricultural productivity, provided there is greater investment in agricultural research, more innovation and investment friendly regulatory regimes, and enhanced global and regional networks for knowledge and technology transfer.