How to Feed the World

Jason Clay of WWF identifies 8 steps to “freeze the footprint of food” in his article in Nature. While he examines the issue particularly with regard to Africa, these points are relevent in a global context as well. For instance, recent discussion in food and foreign policy areas have focused on the practice of “land grabbing”; Clay points out the need to restore degraded, underperforming or abandoned land instead of looking for fresh land to cultivate.

But what makes the top of the list of options is genetics: it cannot be said often enough, we are facing a huge problem here and time is not on our side. Using a technology which allows us to catalyse the process of selection of existing desirable traits and also prepare to combat climate change by including traits such as drought or disease resistance; should be an integral part of any solution (accompanied, of course, by a robust biosafety framework). Organic methods can yield good results but time is short and the technology for genetic modification is already available.

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