Top 5 Tools for Fighting Food Insecurity
September 8, 2015
As the population rises and the challenge of climate change intensifies, farmers will need new tools to keep up with the growing demand for food. Here are five ways that plant science will help meet the challenge of bringing nutritious, affordable food to everyone.
In the past three decades there have been 470 drought-related disasters around the world. Water shortages continue to get worse, while the need for food is increasing daily. Plant science is developing drought-tolerant biotech crops to help farmers across the globe meet this challenge. These crops protect yields and minimize crop loss in times of severe drought, improving food security in dry and vulnerable climates. See our fact sheet on drought tolerance here.
For centuries, farmers tilled the soil to remove weeds before planting. While this has been a common and effective method for generations, it can ultimately lead to soil erosion and a loss of essential soil nutrients. Advances in plant biotechnology and crop protection products are enabling farmers worldwide to adopt conservation agriculture. Otherwise known as no-till agriculture, this approach leaves the soil untilled, which means nutrients and topsoil can be better preserved. This results in healthier and higher-yielding crops, while protecting soils and the environment. Check out our fact sheet to see the full advantages of no-till.
In the past few decades, nitrogen fertilizers have been a big part of increasing crop production and yield around the world. However, most plants can only absorb a portion of the nitrogen present in the soil, leaving beneficial nutrients unused. Plant science is developing biotech traits that use nitrogen more efficiently, allowing farmers to grow more food without developing more land or investing more money in expensive fertilizers. Nitrogen-use efficient crops can make a big impact around the world as research trials show crop yield can increase as much as 15%. View our fact sheet on nitrogen-use efficiency to learn more.
Insects, diseases and weed pressures are one of the greatest threats to our food supply because they compete with crops for essential nutrients and rob them of their yield and quality. Farmers rely on crop protection products to prevent these pests and diseases from damaging their crops and limiting their harvests. However, as the impacts of climate change grow, these pest pressures will become more extreme – making effective use of crop protection products more important than ever before. See our fact sheet on crop protection here.
Tackling food security takes more than quantity – it takes quality too. At least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year could be prevented through better nutrition. Plant scientists have developed a number of new biofortified crops to improve staple foods with additional vitamins and other nutrients. See the top 5 plant science products that improve nutrition.