In the debate surrounding GMOs, a statement that is often made is that many countries have banned transgenic crops, which suggests that they are not safe. Here’s an example from the Non-GMO Project’s website: “Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.” All countries have laws and regulations surrounding biotech crops, including the United States, which is why you can’t develop a transgenic crop and have it sold in stores the following season. Very few countries have an outright ban, where GMOs can neither be grown nor imported. According to GMOAnswers.com, only Kenya falls in this category, but I also found that Peru has a 10-year ban on the use and import of GMO seeds.
It said on the screen, “Bioregenerating Soil-Based Space Agriculture.” The title of the talk was “Beyond Intensification.” The speaker, a prominent researcher and prolific author, is someone who I thought would present clear thinking on how, in addition to intensification of current agriculture, we can go about producing enough food for the earth’s growing population. I glanced around to see if anyone else was astonished. Space farming, he said, was the next step after agricultural intensification with food coming from the Moon and Mars. “Has it come to that?” I thought. I am a fan of science fiction. Not a costumed, Trekkie-conference fan, but a fan. However, over the years, I have realized that the stories I enjoy most are mostly fiction; the science is often ignored. This is “soft” science fiction, the stuff of most Sci-Fi movies because there is a way to visit distant planets; think warp drives
Norman Borlaug would have been 100 years old last week. He has been called “The Man Who Fed The World,” and “The Father of The Green Revolution.” Norm Borlaug was the first plant pathologist to be awarded a Nobel Prize (1970) – for contributions to world peace. For all of use who are fellow plant pathologists, his work has been particularly inspiring. It is a good time to look back at how the challenge of feeding the world population was met during Borlaug’s career, because we have a similar challenge ahead of us.
The International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) and Biology Fortified have produced a special video tribute to the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, a legendary CIMMYT scientist who developed high-yielding, semi-dwarf wheat that started the Green Revolution which is credited with saving over 1 billion people from starvation. The release of this tribute coincides with The Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security, on what would have been the 100th birthday of Dr. Borlaug. His message of increasing food production and the importance of using science in this effort are still important today – perhaps more than ever as the world has over 7 billion people and still growing. To follow this event, go to www.borlaug100.org, and follow the #borlaug100 hashtag in social media. For more information about CIMMYT, visit www.cimmyt.org.