FOOD SECURITY FOR A GROWING POPULATION
Modern agriculture using plant science has doubled the production of world food calories since 1960 while keeping a stable area of land for agricultural production. In India since 1960, we have been able to increase our food production to 251 million tons. This has enabled us to feed a population that has grown from 440 million to 1.2 billion nationally and from 3 billion to over 6 billion globally while sparing virtually negligible land from agricultural use. Crop protection help farmers to grow more food on less land by protecting crops from pests and diseases and raising yields per hectare. This ensures the availability of a year-round, affordable supply of a wide variety of nutritious, fresh produce. Yet growing population continues to put pressure on agricultural production and if we are to meet the world’s food needs in terms of food quantity, quality and affordability, agricultural output must double in the next 20 to 30 years. This needs to be achieved in the wake of changing weather conditions due to climate change, a declining ratio of arable land to population and growing water scarcity. Plant science provides tools to help farmers meet the world’s nutrition needs today, as well as technologies that will help to meet the future challenges of feeding a growing population with fewer natural resources. Here is how:
Protecting against pests and diseases.
Pesticides improve efficiency by increasing crop productivity anywhere between 20 and 50%. Crop losses due to weeds, pests and diseases would double if existing pesticide uses were abandoned.
Securing what is in storage: Pesticides used in stored products can prolong the viable life of the produce, prevent huge post-harvest losses from pests and diseases and protect the grain so it is safe to eat.
Innovative technology to protect more crops from pests and disease with very low dosage that has very low environmental impact.
Raising yields: Globally, production of major crops has more than tripled since 1960. Yields for rice have more than doubled and yields for wheat have gone up about 160%. India today has the technology to improve further.