How we feed 9 billion people

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Transcript How we feed 9 billion people

How we feed 9 billion people
David Zilberman
ELP 2011
Outline
• Big challenges ahead
• How agricultural biotechnology mitigates
climate change
• Offsetting effects
• Policy
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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
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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 19401990
• But productivity growth is
slowing and stalling in
staple crops w/o biotech
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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
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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.)
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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)
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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
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.
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
One reason:
yields increased
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
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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
Estimated yield effect of GE seed
varies by trait, region (from Qaim ‘09)
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GM made huge differences:
Maize yield
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Visual Diff-in-Diff: maize yield
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Visual Diff-in-Diff: Yield percent
deviation from mean (Argentina)
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Crop breeding, as well as genetic tools and techniques, are
crucial for the increase in yield
Corn Yields US per acre
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%
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.
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Simulating the crisis without GE seeds
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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
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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
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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
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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 fastgrowing Chinese demand
for soybean
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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
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
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
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
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
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?
Conclusions
• GM technology has certain gain and some
uncertain risks
• But we should accept small risks in order to
mitigate big ones
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