BIOTECHNOLOGY AS A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION FOR FOOD SECURITY
Agriculture biotechnology is a growing frontier, answering the call for solutions to a critical combination: a growing population on a planet that needs more care. Biotechnology is being developed around the world in livestock production, plant breeding techniques, pest management, and more.
The issues of food security and sustainability conflict when it comes to agriculture, with the most sustainable practices (organic) often not producing the high yields we need to address food security. That is where biotechnologies are coming in, providing solutions that are effective and sustainable.Let’s dive into more about this problem.
Why Is Food Security a Problem?
It is estimated that 821 million people around the world go hungry every day. This crisis can be explained by a multitude of factors including poverty, inequality, nutrition, and food production and distribution.
Agriculture can address the issue of food production. Efforts to develop agriculture biotechnologies are increasing, helping growers effectively produce high-yielding crops. In addition, new attention is being paid to soil and water health, giving crops the basic elements they need to grow.
What is Unsustainable About Agriculture?
Growers are facing pressure to produce crops more sustainably, while still growing enough to feed the increasing population.
Current agriculture practices face a few common criticisms:
- Inputs that can be harmful to the environment (fertilizers, pesticides).
- Greenhouse gas emissions from equipment.
- Depleted soil nutrients and health.
- Crops that cannot withstand the unpredictable extremes of the climate (heat, flood,
Growers need tools to combat these problems, and biotechnology is the answer.
Biotechnology for Effective and Sustainable Agriculture
There are a few key ways biotechnology is being employed to produce food more sustainably while still addressing food security.
- Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are a highly popular biotechnology tool around the world. With genome editing and engineering, plants and seeds that are more robust to natural conditions and stresses are being developed. This is especially key as the climate changes and growing conditions are less predictable. A large portion of Canadian crops are produced using genetically modified seeds, including canola, potatoes, soybeans, corn, sugar beets, alfalfa, apples, squash, and more.
- Biofuels are being developed to reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions produced by current hydrocarbon fuels. Materials from sugar crops (sugarcane, sugarbeet), starch crops (sorghum, corn), animal fats, and oilseed crops (canola, soybean) are all materials being used to replace petroleum products. Biofuels are primarily being utilized for transportation, but they can also be used for heating and electricity.
- Improved animal health and breeding is also in progress. With this tool, livestock can be grown with less food while still producing high quality meat. Animals can also be bred to be resistant to certain diseases.
- Natural, effective alternatives to synthetic products are being developed. Growers need to control weeds, insects, diseases, and fungi in their crops to ensure high yields. However, the current widely-available options for pest control are largely derived from synthetic chemicals. These products can have negative effects on the environment where they’re applied and on those who apply them. Natural alternatives to these options are being developed to manage pests in crops just as effectively.
MustGrow is an agriculture biotech company developing organic Biocontrol, Soil Amendment and Biofertility products by harnessing the natural defense mechanism and organic materials of the mustard plant to sustainably protect the global food supply and help farmers feed the world.
Under Biocontrol, MustGrow is developing products that will reduce the use of synthetic chemical pesticides. Our biopesticides are derived from the natural defence mechanisms of the mustard seed, making them natural and even safe for organic use. Field, lab, and greenhouse trials of our biopesticides are showing that they can compete with synthetic chemical options for effectiveness. They are also very safe to transport, enjoy a long, stable shelf life, and don’t require buffer zones or re-entry times.
Keep up with our technology and the development of our products and progress online. And, if you’re interested in investing in a future of effective, sustainable agriculture, reach out!