John Vidal and Felicity Lawrence
Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Britain must embrace genetically modified crops and cutting-edge developments such as nanotechnology to avoid catastrophic food shortages and future climate change, the government’s chief scientist will warn today.
In the clearest public signal yet that the government wants a hi-tech farming revolution, Professor John Beddington will say UK scientists need to urgently d evelop “a new and greener revolution” to increase food production in a world changed by global warming and expected to have an extra 3 billion people to feed by 2040.
“Techniques and technologies from many disciplines, ranging from biotechnology and engineering to newer fields such as nanotechnology, will be needed,” writes Beddington in a paper, seen by the Guardian, to accompany his speech to the Oxford farming conference.
He warns that time lags for the use of new technology on farms means action is vital now and argues that it is no longer possible to rely on improving yields from crops in traditional ways. “Over the last 50 years improving yields has accounted for 75% of increase in output. However, yield growth rates are now slowing,” he says.
Full article here