Agrifood — the $8 trillion industry that’s worth your salt
The following is an excerpt of an article on Tech Crunch about GMOs as a solution to increasing food production for the world's growing population.
New technologies are creating big opportunities. The food and agriculture value-chain is full of bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Some of them could be solved with the intelligent application of well-known technologies.
The humble online marketplace, for example. Marketplaces, including Yagro, Hectare Agritech and Farm-r, let farmers transact machinery and goods, while peer-to-peer platforms like WeFarm enable knowledge sharing. Food procurement marketplaces have cropped up too, such as COLLECTIVfood, Pesky Fish and COGZ — as have direct-to-consumer services, such as Farmdrop and Oddbox.
Some tech solutions are far more complex.
Genetic engineering, for one, is providing plenty of food for thought. Indeed, the UN suggests that food production must increase by 70 percent by 2050 to feed the world’s population growth. Genetic engineering could increase crop yields by 22 percent globally, as well as help pre-empt pre-harvest losses.
To this end, CRISPR is revolutionizing how food is grown. CRISPR technology helps producers optimize photosynthesis and the vitamin content of crops. Since it was first tested on tobacco production in 2013, CRISPR has been used on a range of crops, from wheat and rice to oranges and tomatoes; and for a whole spectrum of applications — from boosting crop resistance to pests, to improving nutritional contents. CRISPR is also being applied to livestock. At the Roslin Institute in Scotland, researchers have successfully used CRISPR to develop virus-resistant pigs.