STUDY: Major UN Report Endorses "Climate-Smart" Biotech Crops

By Michael Stebbins • December 01, 2016

The following is an excerpt of a post by Mark Lynas on the Cornell Alliance for Science website about a new UN agency report and biotech crops.

A major new report from the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today outlines the importance of improved crops and biotechnology in reducing poverty and addressing the climate change challenge faced by the world's 750 million smallholder farmers.

The FAO's annual State of Food and Agriculture 2016 report addresses a plethora of different approaches to tackling climate change in smallholder farming, including increased crop diversity, off-farm income sources, access to markets and credit sources, a renewed focus on gender, and agro-ecological farming practices that conserve soil organic matter and water resources. 

The report also renews the FAO's focus on “climate-smart agriculture,” which combines both adaptation and mitigation in improved farming systems. One of its three key principles is "sustainably increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in incomes, food security, and development." Examples suggested by the FAO include the adoption of heat- and drought-resistant varieties of important crops, as well as expanding irrigation and the adoption of conservation agriculture. 

While statements by FAO officials have often been equivocal about biotechnology over the years, the 2016 report does contain a strong paragraph of endorsement:

"Biotechnologies, both low- and high-tech, can help small-scale producers in particular to be more resilient and to adapt better to climate change. While the subsections that follow focus mainly on innovation through management practices, some practices may depend on the outcomes of biotechnology, such as improved seed."

The FAO's statement is welcome in that it represents a clearer acknowledgement that biotechnology and improved crop varieties - while not a silver bullet by themselves - do play a vital role in wider strategies for assisting smallholder farmers to address climate change. This is in contrast to many NGOs, which assert that genetically engineered crops in particular should be prohibited in Africa despite their likely benefits. 

To read the entire post, please visit the Cornell Alliance for Science website

To read the UN report, please visit the FAO site

Posted on June 19, 2017
Yes, the EU is one of the geographies where GM-derived food and animal feed must be labeled according to conditions outlined by the European Commission on this webpage. GM labels are very common on sacks of animal feed. Depending on the type of animal, GM labeled feed is often the standard – except of course when it comes to GM free or organic supply chains. Read More
Answer:
Posted on July 28, 2017
Hummingbird feeders often contain a sugar solution that is similar to plant nectar. Therefore, bees are attracted to these Hummingbird feeders, because similar to hummingbirds, the sugar/nectar attracts them. There are some hummingbird feeders on the market that are designed to prevent bees, ants, and other insects from getting in.   Bee decline is complex and often misunderstood by the public. Chris Sansone, Global Regulatory Affairs Manager of Insect Resistance Management (... Read More
Answer:
Posted on April 12, 2017
There are no GM tomatoes on the market but there is quite a bit of misinformation about GM crops on the Internet – for example “spooky” Fish DNA in tomatoes - that is designed to mislead and scare consumers.                                             ... Read More
STUDY: Omega-6 and omega-3 oxylipins are implicated in soybean oil-induced obesity in mice
STUDY: Genetically Modified Crops, Regulatory Delays, and International Trade