Monsanto puts across GM case
THE world’s farmers and growers have been set a monumental challenge – they must produce as much food over the next 50 years as they have during 10,000 years of civilisation.
Only then will there be enough food for a population set to reach 9 billion by 2050 says the UN.
Not only that, farmers will be required to produce this food using the same area of land, using less water and using less energy.
With such a backdrop, David Stark, one of the first scientists to introduce genetically modified crops to farmers in the 1980s, has urged policy makers to adopt GM.
“We have the opportunity to make a real difference for how future generations live,” said Mr Stark, now vice-president of consumer traits at biotech giant Monsanto.
Mr Stark was speaking to industry experts at a seminar in Westminster last week (Thursday, November 6) on the future of British agriculture.
He said: “We have a commitment at Monsanto to use all our technology, not just GM, so that seeds we sell 20 years from now will have double the yield from what they had in 2000 and will use one third less input.”
He said GM technology would be part of that solution.
He was part of a project that developed high starch potatoes, high solid tomatoes and higher oil in oilseeds in 1989 and believes new technologies are coming through to provide human and environmental sustainability.
“We are a couple of years away from launching soybean with Omega 3 to benefit health.
“We are designing crops that sip, not gulp water. Our sipping maize could be ready for the market in a couple of years and it will be broadly applicable.
“People need healthy food that does not impact on the environment and I think we can do that,” said Mr Stark.
He also tried to dispel the criticism that large multinational companies were out of touch with the very people they try to help.
“I understand there is still a big mistrust of us I understand that because multinationals tend to be faceless. But I am Monsanto. This is the face. Our benefits are very real and we are very real.”