We are currently living in a time when every single resource in the world is becoming scarce, unpredictable and uncertain. Water, food, environment and even our climate is changing rapidly. In a situation like this, what is the need of the hour to keep at par with the changes that the world is facing?
I am sure similar thoughts bother you as well.
Recently, our Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Usha B. Zehr spoke about innovation and available solutions for such issues at TEDxBandra.
TEDx as you may know, is a platform that brings people of varied mindsets and subject expertise together to share their views and engage in meaningful debate with people who attend the event. Similar to TED, TEDx welcomes people from different diversities who seek a deeper understanding of the world around them. Platforms like these facilitate science based discussion and expression of thought, as both speakers and audiences come with an open mind.
One of the first examples of seed innovation that Dr Zehr discussed at TEDx was Norman Borlaug’s seed innovation where hybrids developed during the green revolution raised yields on the farms dramatically. The plants were much shorter, such that they were able to fight disease more easily, stand upright, and be more responsive to fertilizer and water. So, what was the outcome?
One hectare of land went from 750 kg of wheat to 1600 kg almost in one season!
She shared her own examples of how locals would have food at her place, something she never understood back then. But having seen food scarcity first hand, she decided to bring innovative practices to agriculture to contribute towards food security of the country. It got me thinking how lucky we are- having the means to afford food, having never experienced food scarcity. But we often fail to acknowledge what made it all possible- innovation!
Seed innovation- that we think is unnatural and going against nature’s will, has actually existed naturally since the inception of agriculture. The key to accepting innovation is to understand it. When we don’t understand innovation it leads to myths and misconceptions that are not backed by facts.
Given the pace of discovery and innovation, we have the opportunity to tackle the toughest challenges that lie ahead of us. From India’s nutrition crisis to the unpredictability of climate, continuing to invest in agriculture research will enable us to keep pace with a changing world and an ever growing need for food.
What you and I eat comes in different forms, more or less of packing but the common thing is that it is grown by the same farmer and what our farmer grows begins with a seed!
P.S., I also learnt 3 new facts:
1. Everything we eat has DNA!
2. Breeding replicates a natural process.- trial and error helps decide which offspring is best suited for their environment.
3. Humans share 50% of our genome with bananas and 98% with the Chimpanzee!
By Divya Khare, Corporate Communications, Mahyco