NABC Report 16: Agricultural Biotechnology: Finding Common International Goals

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Published 2004 by NABC.

Agriculture has had a long history of innovation and adaptation as new ideas, practices, and technologies emerged. Agricultural biotechnology has emerged as a new engine of change in farming. Through directed genetic alterations, crops have been given new traits that enhance their resistance to insect pests, permit more targeted and safer control of weeds, and that eventually will improve their nutritional value or their value as industrial feedstocks.

Technology, innovation, change… these all speak to a sense of promise for the future. But some people see them as ominous, others merely as a solvable dilemma. The problem stems from a set of glo¬bal trends that are unprecedented in human history. Since the time our species appeared on the planet, our population hovered far below one billion people but around 1980 the human ecological footprint exceeded the estimated carrying capacity of the planet. For people in the chronically poor parts of the world, inadequacies in diet and income remain lethally acute and many people remain deprived of basic essentials needed for an acceptable quality of life. There is no more arable land to open up, existing arable land is becoming depleted of nutrients or contaminated. Agriculture will be a major player in meeting the challenges of providing a safe and healthy food supply, minimizing our ecological footprint on the planet, and improving the quality of life of many people.

This conference focused on if and how agricultural biotechnology could be used to address issues of the environment and minimize the ecological footprint of people on the planet, quality of life for all people including those who grow crops, and the growing need for safe and healthy food.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 26
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    Disaggregating biotechnology and poverty: Finding common international goals
    Herring, Ronald J. (NABC, 2004)
    Concluding remarks and conference summary.
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    The goal is nutritionally adequate diets: How do we get there?
    Harris. Suzanne S. (NABC, 2004)
    Africa’s development challenges may be summed up as follows: investment in human development including nutrition, health, education, water, and sanitation; increasing agricultural productivity by smallholder farmers; attaining an adequate threshold of infrastructure: roads, railroads, energy, ports, and communications; and finally gaining access to global markets and fair trade...
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    Frankenfoods: What to do when the devil has all the good songs
    Calamai, Peter (NABC, 2004)
    There is concern about disintegrating social connection in Canada as in the US. Political observers are bemoaning the hollowing out of constituency organizations, once the backbone of political parties. But opposition to agricultural biotechnology is bucking the erosion of social capital and has managed to unite people across ideologies, social classes, education, income, and even in disparate neighborhoods.
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    Q & A: Improving quality of life
    (NABC, 2004)
    Panel discusision on Module III: Improving quality of Life
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    Q & A: Ensuring safe and healthy food
    (NABC, 2004)
    Panel discussion on ensuring safe and healthy food
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    Rice biotechnology for developing countries in Asia
    Redona, Edilberto D. (NABC, 2004)
    Rice production in Asia must increase from its current in order to feed an additional 650 million consumers while ensuring profitability for countless resource-poor farmers. Biotechnology can help address these major challenges of guaranteeing food security while alleviating poverty in Asia. New processes and second- and third-generation products, It is important to note, however, that biotechnology is not a panacea for achieving food security and sustainability of rice-based agricultural systems in Asia. The tasks ahead are gargantuan and the future remains uncertain.
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    Ensuring safe and health food
    Henson, Spencer (NABC, 2004)
    Introductory remarks for Module IV: Ensuring safe and health food
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    Africa’s new focus in establishing food security
    Wambugu, Florence M (NABC, 2004)
    Biotechnology offers significant potential for enhancing nutritional quality of foods and for improving agronomic characteristics to increase food availability. Coupled with adequate public-health guidance on scientifically sound dietary patterns and other strategies, real progress can be made toward eliminating malnutrition. The challenge to make this potential a reality is large, but the benefit is even greater in terms of improving the lives of millions worldwide
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    Agriculture’s future: “Reading the tea leaves”
    Oliver, John P. (NABC, 2004)
    Agriculture is a fundamental pillar for a healthy Canada. It influences human health and health care as it does environmental health. It is of benefit for all to take an active part in shaping the future of agriculture so we all benefit..
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    Q & A: Diminishing the ecological footprint
    (NABC, 2004)
    Panel discusision on Module II: Diminishing the ecological footprint.