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How we feed 9 billion people

How we feed 9 billion people

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How we feed 9 billion people

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  1. How we feed 9 billion people David Zilberman ELP 2011

  2. Outline • Big challenges ahead • How agricultural biotechnology mitigates climate change • Offsetting effects • Policy

  3. Big Challenges: Rising Food Demand Per Capita Meet Consumption (in kg) in Asia (1962-2002) • World pop will grow 30% by 2050 • Rising incomes cause per capita demand to grow too • And diets are becoming more land intensive • Food production must grow faster than population

  4. Big Challenges: Falling yield growth U.S. Staple field crop yields (MT/Ha) 1990-2002 • The Green Revolution allowed production to double as world pop doubled to 6 bn from 1940-1990 • But productivity growth is slowing and stalling in staple crops w/o biotech

  5. Big Challenges: Energy Demand Rising World Marketed Energy Consumption (Qbtu) 1980-2030 • 6% of China pop owned car in 2007. 80% in UK and 90% in US. • Demand in non-OECD economies will grow 104% from 2006-30

  6. Big Challenges: Oil is harder to get • New supplies are harder to reach (e.g. deep sea oil wells) • And dirtier (e.g. deep sea oil wells, tarsands, CTLs, etc.)

  7. Big Challenges: Climate Change • We need both adaptation and mitigation • Temperatures are likely to rise by 1 – 2C regardless of what we do • Adaptation means • Changing crop systems • Starting farming in new areas • Agriculture must do more (food and biofuel) with less (emissions and land)

  8. A diversified strategy • Investment in research and outreach • Use of integrated ecological practices • Adapting farming to ecological and climatic conditions • Taking advantage of diverse sources of knowledge • Taking advantage of new science and technology • Information technology • Molecular and cell technology • Agricultural biotechnology and GMOs • GMO is maligned but I will argue that it is an essential part of (sustainable) agriculture of the future

  9. What is Ag-Biotechnology? • Ag-Biotech applied modern tools of molecular and cell biology to agriculture. • The discovery of DNA is arguably the greatest discovery of the 20th century. • Comparable to the discovery of the atom & electricity • Enables understanding of the inner working of organisms • Provides tools to minor manipulations that have major impacts • Medical biotech radicalized medicines and develop tools to deal with cancer, AIDS, etc. • Agricultural biotechnology can do the same to crop systems • Help to increase and improve food production, produce renewable fuels and other materials • It is in its infancy but already has a successful track record and a promising future.

  10. Science and Miracle of Agriculture • Population doubled since 1950 • Food per capita increased • Food per worker increased • There are side effects that need to be addressed but • science is the best tool we have

  11. One reason: yields increased

  12. What is the global impact of GE ? • Adopted on 4 major crops(cotton, maize, rapeseed, soybean) • Mostly in US, Latin America • Cotton in China, India and Africa • Adoption grew fast • About 70% of soybean land • About 50% of cotton • About 30% of maize • About 20% of rapeseed

  13. First generation GM varieties controlling pest damage • Insect resistance & herbicide tolerance • Actual output = potential output X (1-damage) • GM varieties reduce damage when there is no pesticide • replace pesticide to control damage • In developing countries, likely to have high yield effect • In developed countries, pesticide replacing effect

  14. Estimated yield effect of GE seed varies by trait, region (from Qaim ‘09)

  15. GM made huge differences: Maize yield

  16. Visual Diff-in-Diff: maize yield

  17. Visual Diff-in-Diff: Yield percent deviation from mean (Argentina)

  18. Crop breeding, as well as genetic tools and techniques, are crucial for the increase in yield Corn Yields US per acre

  19. Overall assessment of GMO contribution • Yield of GMO crops cotton & corn grew much faster than other crops • Impact highest in developing countries • Yield effect in cotton close to 100% maize 50%

  20. Implications for Land use • Gene revolution allows us to meet growing food demand without relying on farmland expansion alone • Without GE yield gains in ‘08, would have needed: • 8.6 million HA more land to produce maize crop • 11 million HA more land for soybean crop • An area of additional land equal to state of Kansas or total area planted to wheat in U.S. in 2008.

  21. Simulating the crisis without GE seeds

  22. Implications for food security World Food Price Index in 2000 dollars (World Bank) • By increasing supply, GM reduced the price of corn by between 15-30% & soybean between 20-40% • Without biotech, the food crisis would have been worse • Food price reduction because biotech is equivalent to food price increase because of biofuel

  23. If there were broader adoption of GE • If top-10 producing countries had all adopted GE at the rate of the US . . . • maize production would have been 75 million tons higher just from yield gains • Biofuels recruited 86 million tons • Vegetable oils production would have been 37 million tons higher • Biofuels recruited 8.6 million tons • food prices would have been lower • We could have food AND fuel

  24. If there were broader adoption of GE • And if GE wheat were introduced in top-10 countries and yield gains mirrored those in soybean . . . • Production would have been 12 million tons higher • Biofuels recruited 26 million tons

  25. Expansion of soybean acreage met China’s growing demand GM allowed double cropping of soybeans with wheat Soybean production in Argentina and imports in China • It has created virtual land expansion of 10M acres in Argentina. • Argentina has met fast-growing Chinese demand for soybean

  26. Other benefits of GM • US NRC report suggests GM more environmental friendly than traditional agriculture • By reducing pesticide use, it saves thousands of lives in China • It makes farmers lives easier (which is a plus) • Reducing acreage saved the equivalent GHG emission of a 6.4 million cars annually • Reducing soil erosion and water run off by encouraging no tillage • It saves fuel and water by increasing yield

  27. Relative to Modern Breeding Biotech Can Enhance Crop Biodiversity • Main premise: Agbiotech allows minor modification of existing varieties and under appropriate institutional setup can be adopted while preserving crop biodiversity • Conventional breeding involves often massive genetic changes, and adjustments to accommodate biodiversity are costly and • Well functioning IPR system can lead to crop biodiversity preservation • Field data support this claim

  28. Environmental Effects NRC Report Findings : Gene Flow • No or very limited spatial overlap between GE crops and potentially interbreeding relatives in the United States • Future concerns depend on what GE crops emerge in market • Primarily a concern to producers of non-GE varieties of these crops

  29. GM essential for dealing with Climate Change • Climate change is serious. We need to fight fire with fire. • GM would allow much faster development of crop systems • Sustainability does not mean keeping the status quo because evolution means change • Thus sustainability means the ability to adapt and adjust to change with minimum damage • Biotech enables such adjustments

  30. Dependence on business (monopolies?) • We are dependent on business firms for provision of cellphones, medicine and almost everything else. • Producers price goods so that they are affordable • 60%+ of the economics of GM went to consumers and farmers • Governments should and will stay involved in GM to complement businesses • Many patents belong to universities & are available for developing crops for the poor • Even companies contribute IPR for crops for the poor

  31. Big challenge: Regulation • Banning GM and regulatory uncertainty reduced investment in developing new technologies • Heavy regulation increased the power of monopolies, they are only ones who can afford it • Technologies to improve food quality, reduce GHG emission and address drought and diseases are languishing on the shelf • Europe’s yield are declining relative to the Americas • Africa is more vulnerable because of taking limited advantage of opportunities- • Africa missed the Green Revolution – will it miss the Gene Revolution?

  32. Conclusions • GM technology has certain gain and some uncertain risks • But we should accept small risks in order to mitigate big ones