Today, the world is fighting against climate change, one of the biggest challenges to ensure food security. Other challenges in front of us are growing population and scarcity of natural resources.
The most alarming fact is that India ranks 97th out of 118 countries on the Global Hunger Index 2016 (Source). The future doesn?t hold any less challenges. According to reports, the global population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 (Source). As the population grows, arable land decreases, severely impacting the agricultural production. The challenges are doubled with the advent of pests etc. According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, around 40% of the global crop yields are affected due to pests and diseases (Source). Globally, farmers have to fight over 30,000 species of weeds, which attack food crops for water and soil nutrients. Also, farmers have to contend with more than 10,000 species of plant-eating insects that affect crops (Source).
Despite these challenges the agricultural production needs to grow by 60% to feed the world?s population (Source). And we believe that to meet this goal, plant science and innovation are required. There is an urgent need to embrace science and technology for supporting farmers to produce more while using natural resources such as soil, water and land efficiently. Biotechnology has contributed to increase the sustainability of agriculture through modern farming practices. Some effective ways such as crop protection, precision agriculture and e-agriculture have proven to be the key solutions to produce an abundant food supply across the globe. Technology-enabled crops and foods like brinjal, rice, pulses, mustard and many more have helped the agronomists enhance nutrient composition, food quality and reduce crop loss, not just in a specific place but worldwide.
Realizing the importance of food security and the urgent need to sensitize the world about the challenges that lay ahead of us, it is encouraging to know that UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is celebrating ?World Food Day? on 16 October with the theme ?Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too?. On this occasion, I strongly feel it is an opportunity for us to also recommit to transform with the times and give technology and science an opportunity to help us overcome the challenges.
As FAO is planning a number of events including conferences, roundtables etc. I urge everyone to follow the news and I promise to write more blogposts from my learnings of following these conversations closely.
Together Let?s celebrate ?World Food Day?!!!