In a remarkable agricultural feat, global food production has surged by 390% since 1960, while land use has seen a mere 10% increase, according to a recent report by the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP).
According to the author of the report, Dr. Stuart Smyth, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, this achievement is largely credited to the integration of modern seed genetics, including genetically modified (GM) crops, and the strategic use of chemicals and fertilizers.
Dr. Smyth’s report underscores that the agricultural sector has evolved into a highly technical system, leveraging various inputs and technologies for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. It warns that any potential restrictions on these technologies could jeopardize the climate mitigation successes accomplished so far.
GM crops have played a pivotal role in enhancing soil health, the report notes. They have facilitated continuous zero-tillage crop production, leading to significant soil benefits, including a notable increase in carbon storage.
For farmers, these technologies have reduced input costs and boosted crop yields. For society at large, they have minimized chemical runoff into watersheds, ensured food availability, and contributed to climate change mitigation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.