The use of biotechnology in agriculture offers unique and exciting opportunities for nations across Asia. Our global member companies have some of the best biotechnology scientists in the world and they have the capacity to develop new crops that will help agriculture to continue its vital role in the economies of Asia.
Modern biotechnology allows plants breeders to select genes that produce beneficial traits and move them from one organism to another. Plant biotechnology is far more precise and selective than crossbreeding in producing desired agronomic traits and, a little known fact is that for thousands of years, farmers have been using breeding techniques to “genetically modify” crops to improve quality and yield.
Today, plant biotechnology has been adopted by farmers worldwide at rates never before seen by any other advances in the history of agriculture. In 2011, biotech crops were grown by 16.7 million farmers on 160 million hectares in 29 countries. The reason for such impressive adoption rates is simple: plant biotechnology delivers significant and tangible benefits, all the way from the farm to fork. Plant biotechnology has enabled to improve farming techniques and crop production around the world by increasing plants’ resistance to diseases and pests; reducing pesticide applications; and maintaining and improving crop yields.
There are issues to resolve with agricultural biotechnology, some of them are challenging. CropLife Asia is committed to addressing concerns by deploying the best scientific research and other information in credible and understandable ways to variety of stakeholders. Our research and experience tells us that the more governments, NGOs and other consumers learn about plant biotechnology, the more they will welcome it into the marketplace.
We all can support a technology that can increase harvests, that helps us meet our energy needs, and create products that are able to grow in drought-stricken and other inhospitable areas. We all care about giving farmers better tools to improve productivity and raise their living standards. As an engine of economic growth, agriculture can help alleviate the poverty that still afflicts so much of Asia and the rest of the world, and biotechnology can help agriculture do the simple, but still elusive, job of ensuring that hungry people have enough to eat. And because many more biotech products in the pipeline offer more nutritious or tasty food, we all stand to benefit directly.