Food security is one of the greatest challenges facing the world in the first half of the 21st century. The next 20 to 30 years will see rapid population growth and the increasing impact of climate change on agriculture. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has projected that farmers will need to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to meet the needs of a global population which, by that time, will have grown to over 9 billion people.
This presents an enormous challenge for the agricultural sector and farmers globally. Presented with this challenge farming must adapt; to become more productive, more resilient to plant and animal disease and better at protecting the natural environment. To achieve this it is essential that farmers are able to use all the tools and technologies available to them. 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the first commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops. GM crops are just one of the many technologies that have been developed to increase agricultural yields, and will need to be part of the solution to the challenge facing agriculture in the coming years.
To mark the anniversary, abc has published 'Cultivating the Future', a collection of essays by expert contributors. The full essay collection can be read here.