Planting the future
Opportunities and challenges for using crop genetic improvement technologies for sustainable agriculture
In previous work, the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) described the opportunities and challenges in using plant genetic resources in improved breeding approaches. In the present report, EASAC explores some of the issues associated with the genetic modification of crops, where the EU has fallen behind in its adoption of the technology, compared with many other regions of the world.
Agriculture faces major challenges to deliver food security at a time of increasing pressures from climate change, social and economic inequity and instability, and the continuing need to avoid further loss in ecosystem biodiversity. The introduction of new EU legislation requiring farmers to reduce reliance on crop protection chemicals creates additional challenges for maintaining levels of crop productivity. Previous European Union (EU) agricultural policy had focused on constraining food production but there is a new realisation that the EU should now increase its biomass production for food, livestock feed and other uses, including renewable materials to support the bioeconomy. The production of more food, more sustainably, requires the development of crops that can make better use of limited resources. Agricultural innovation can capitalise on the rapid pace of advance in functional genomics research and it is unwise to exclude any technology a priori for ideological reasons. Sustainable agricultural production and food security must harness the potential of biotechnology in all its facets.
Edition / Volume: EASAC Policy Report, 21
Pages: vi, 69
Standard identifier: 978-3-8047-3181-3