- Gates says food aid may not completely solve global hunger problem
- Innovations in agricultural technology are also needed to help address the crisis.
- These include ‘Magic Seeds’ designed to adapt to climate change
- Include corn that has been bred to be more resistant to hot, dry climates, and rice, which requires three fewer weeks in the field
Bill Gates, in an effort to solve world hunger, has called for more investment in engineered crops that can adapt to climate change and resist agricultural pests.
in latest annual goalkeeper report Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says the global hunger crisis is so high that food aid cannot completely solve the problem.
What is needed, he argues, is innovations in agricultural technology that can help address the crisis.
Gates in particular points to a breakthrough he calls ‘magic seeds’ – including maize that has been bred to be more resistant to hot, dry climates and rice, which requires three fewer weeks in the field. is needed.
They argue that these innovations will increase agricultural productivity despite the changing climate.
However, he claims that the research and development budget for new innovations such as the magic seed is still very small compared to spending on food aid.
Gates said in the report, “It is good that people want to stop their fellow human beings from starving when food supplies are disrupted due to conflicts like Ukraine, but we also have to acknowledge that those crises are symptoms of a deeper problem.” “
‘Many countries are not yet developed enough, and climate change is making farming even more difficult. That challenge cannot be solved with charity. This requires innovation.
Doris Muia, 45, compares a cob of recycled maize seed corn with a large cob of a hybrid, climate-resistant maize seed crop on March 2, 2021, in Machakos, Kenya. Climate change is having a significant impact on smallholder farmers, African farmers. Irregular rainfall and form of drought.
Graph comparing food aid amounts with the R&D budget for new innovations like Magic Seeds
Bill Gates (pictured) says the global hunger crisis is so big that food aid may not completely solve the problem
What are gene-edited crops and how do they differ from GM plants?
Gene editing holds the promise of producing a ‘super-crop’ by altering or cutting out naturally occurring genes in plants.
Unlike genetically modified (GM) plants, gene-edited (GE) crops do not contain any ‘foreign’ DNA from other species.
GE crops are produced using CRISPR, a new tool for making precise edits to DNA.
Scientists use a special protein to make small changes to a plant’s DNA that can occur naturally or through selective breeding.
Foreign genes have been added to the DNA of GM crops – a process that often cannot occur naturally.
The US, Brazil, Canada and Argentina have indicated they will exempt GE crops from GM regulations that do not contain foreign DNA.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world and is known for its work on global health, including vaccines.
It began in its current form in 2000, when Gates stepped down as CEO at Microsoft, the tech giant he co-founded.
The Foundation has invested heavily in farming technology, including a type of corn seed that thrives at high temperatures and in drought conditions, known as drytago.
The seeds were first developed under a program of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, to which the Gates Foundation has given $131 million since 2008.
Since then, the foundation has spent $1.5 billion on grants focused on agriculture in Africa, according to Candid, a nonprofit that researches philanthropic charities.
Gates points to the potential of predictive modeling—using artificial intelligence to process the genome sequences of crops alongside environmental data—and embracing a data-based vision of what fields will look like in the future.
‘From this computer model, researchers can identify the optimum plant variety for a particular location. Or they can do the opposite: pinpoint the optimal location to grow a specific crop,’ he explains.
The technology is still in its early stages, but similar predictive models – which predict when fields may contain an invasive species or crop disease, for example – have already seen great results.
Doris Muia, 45, with corn from the latest crop of hybrid, climate-resistant corn seeds on March 2, 2021 in Machakos, Kenya.
Maize accounts for about 30 percent of the total calories consumed by people in sub-Saharan Africa. It is an incredibly important crop, but also a sensitive one. When the temperature exceeds 30 °C (86 °F), the growth process begins to break down; Pollination and photosynthesis slow. Each additional degree above 30°C per day cuts crop yield by at least 1 percent
The Foundation’s spending on agricultural development is why Gates’ vision of how countries should respond to food insecurity has taken on extreme importance in a year when a record 345 million people worldwide are acutely hungry.
The World Food Program said in July that the tally represents a 25 percent increase from before Russia invaded Ukraine in February and a 150 percent jump before the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020.
However, in assigning a major role to technology in addressing the world’s food crisis, Gates finds himself at odds with critics who say his ideas conflict with worldwide efforts to protect the environment.
They note that such seeds usually require pesticides and fossil fuel-based fertilizers to grow.
Critics also argue that Gates’ approach does not address the urgency of the crisis.
‘Magic Seeds’ take years to develop and will not bring immediate relief to countries currently suffering widely as they rely on food imports or are facing historic droughts.
This is a debate that could intensify internationally…
Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /