How Biotechnology Can Help Solve World Hunger?

How Biotechnology Can Help Solve World Hunger?
How Biotechnology Can Help Solve World Hunger?

One of the biggest challenges we face as humanity is global hunger, affecting not just the underdeveloped Countries but also many developed ones. Many scientists and technologists dealing with this problem head-on are trying their best to develop solutions that will end global hunger exponentially.

Among the many Biotechnologies, GM, also known as ”Genetic Modification” of crops, require extra care and attention. Genetically modified crops possessing the genes of different species can help in the rapid production of food, helping resolve global food shortages.

As great as the GM crop solutions sound, there are still concerns regarding such crops’ benefits and whether this is a viable option in solving global hunger and bad harvest problems.

The GMO crops of today help farmers combat any potential crop loss. The three most common traits found in GMO crops are-

  1. Resistance to plant viruses
  2. Resistance to any insect damage
  3. Great tolerance to herbicides

A large chunk of the scientific community proposes earning export income from the higher yields of good crops that can reduce the food shortage in developing countries. However, it is easier said than done, and there are many challenges associated with the practicality and application of this proposal.

Nonetheless, there are significant benefits to GMO crops that shouldn’t be ignored, and the possibility of reaping great benefits from biotechnology is significantly present for the taking. Moreover, biotechnology’s advantages can cover a wide range of agricultural aspects apart from crop generation, including livestock management, storage of agricultural products, and much more.

Coming back to GM crops’ pros, manufacturers are using this method of producing crops to place desirable and healthy traits within their production. For example, there has been a development of two varieties of apples that do not turn bad once cut. Naturally, apples turn yellow and get dark upon cutting them open or keeping them for too long. The engineers are trying to create more long-lasting food and the more nutritious kind.

The main drive behind producing GM crops is to drive crop protection and sustainability. Come to think of it, if a longer-lasting, healthy and nutrition-filled yield, that too in a large quantity is harvested, the price of food will be reduced, and the poor can afford it.

World Hunger Through Statistics and Data

According to the sources, from 2018 to 2019, the number of undernourished people grew by a whopping 10 million, and there are now nearly 60 million more malnourished people compared to 2014. Another more recent estimate by the Food and Agriculture Organization suggests a population of 854 million undernourished people. Unfortunately, most of the community affected is that of children showing visible effects of hunger and pain. The hunger robs them of their bright futures, and malnutrition only welcomes various diseases, including measles and malaria.

However, the silver lining remains. Between the increase in world hunger as shown in the statistics above, the concerned organizations have been working hard at reducing hunger; one such effort is under discussion.

Biotechnology has opened a world of possibilities that include popper food distribution and production ratio, hopefully ending world hunger. The bio-engineered seeds that include our choice of genes can produce a promising harvest. Such advancement in agriculture will also ensure less crop loss. Moreover, using the technique of ”no-till farming”, you can grow crops on previously unplanted lands as well.

If you are not familiar with what no-till farming is, then the concept is quite simple. No-till farming is also known as direct drilling. It is an agricultural technique that includes growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage. This process decreases any soil-erosion. Another great benefit that no-till farming provides is increasing the amount of water that infiltrates the soil, circulating the water evenly.

New Variety of Rice; Solution for Global Hunger in Reach?

We have spoken about how biotechnology has enabled us to produce crops that are high in nutritional value. For example, apart from the two varieties of apple, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology developed a new breed of rice that contains higher amounts of iron that can cure iron deficiency around the globe addressing the iron deficiency present in 3.7 billion people worldwide.

In another news, ”Golden Rice” created by researchers in Germany and Switzerland, contains three new promising genes, two extracted from daffodil and one from a bacterium. These extracted genes help in producing pro-vitamin A. Considering that we face approximately 140 million children, mostly from low-income households distributed among 118 countries, this solution can be the savior.

This rice variety is one such product of biotechnology that is geared towards eradicating global hunger. Life sciences consulting firms are also playing a significant part in providing the right consultation to the people.

What Does the Future Hold in Biotechnology?

Biotechnology and the concerned scientists are professionals and experts in their field. Meaning they are focused on handling such a grave matter that requires urgent attention as much as global warming.

The possibilities of biotechnology coming up with solutions to such global problems.

The question is since this technology and concept of ”biotech farming” has been around for some time, where has it been implemented? To this, you can say many developing countries participate in being “mega-biotech crop” farmers. For instance, in India, more than five million farmers contribute to planting 7.6 million hectares of cotton that can protect itself from insects.

So the possibility of producing GM crops and reaping great healthy harvests is a possible option to end global hunger. However, there are still some cons to this that need addressing, which we are sure the biotechnology and life sciences community will work hard towards.

Many of the startups are working on biotechnology to produce more quality crops, more produces that can help the world to feed the underprivileged population and also this can feed a growing world population to a greater extent.

Image credit- Canva

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