World Water Week 2012: « Water and Food Security » - how biotech can contribute to face global challenges
Brussels, 31 August 2012
“There is no food security without water security, “ said FAO director-general Jose Graziano Da Silva at the opening of the World Water Week which was held in Stockholm from 26 to 31 August 2012. Agriculture accounts for 70% of all water use; if current trends continue, predicted water shortages in agriculture have been identified as the single most significant constraint on crop production over the next 50 years.
Even in Europe, as stated in a 2009 European Commission report on ‘Adaptation to Climate Change: the Challenge for European Agriculture and Rural Areas’, high water stress areas are expected to increase from 19% today to 35% by 2070 implying “significant changes in the quality and availability of water resources”. In other parts of the world, water scarcity is already a reality affecting 40% of people, leaving farmers with an increasing number of challenges to grow food.
Agricultural biotechnology can play a significant role in enabling farmers to improve yield by using water more sustainably and helping to scope with water scarcity. The two main ways in which this works are by reducing water loss and improving drought tolerance.
Agricultural biotech practices that reduce the amount of ploughing required before planting crops have already been used for more than 15 years. This means the soil is not inverted which helps to trap soil moisture. New biotech applications in the R&D pipeline, such as drought and stress tolerant crops, offer additional opportunities to enhance water efficiency in agriculture, adapt to climate change and increase global food security, while at the same time protecting the environment. “Genetically-engineered crops such as the drought-tolerant maize that is now available in the US offer valuable tools to farmers, allowing them to continue to produce food while making the best use of every drop of water”, commented Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, EuropaBio’s Director for Agricultural Biotechnology.
“The need for innovation and collaboration with corporations and small businesses is significant”, said Swedish Cooperation Minister Gunilla Carlsson at the world event. This is exactly what the biotech industry is looking for: increased collaboration to ensure that innovative products are made available to farmers to bring solutions that benefit society as a whole.
For further information, please contact:
Carel du Marchie Sarvaas
Director, Green Biotechnology Europe, EuropaBio
Tel: +32 2 739 11 85 Mobile: +32 473 890 359 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications Manager, Green Biotechnology Europe, EuropaBio
Tel: +32 2 739 11 62 Mobile: +32 473 334 875 Email: email@example.com
EuropaBio's mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnology based industry in Europe. EuropaBio, (the European Association for Bioindustries), has 62 corporate and 6 associate members operating worldwide, 2 Bioregions and 18 national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises. http://www.europabio.org/