FOOD: 2009 Golden Era for GM Crops
Recent Gauteng Business News
2009 was undoubtedly the Golden Era for GM crops worldwide. A vast new range of GM crops was developed to help feed the world, secure food security, and alleviate famine and poverty, Andrew Bennett, Monsanto’s technology development manager for GM crops in Africa, said in a new year’s message.
The good news in South Africa is that GM crops are surging ahead. During the 2009/10 planting season it is estimated that 10% more white maize and 14% more soybeans have been planted. White and yellow maize are estimated at 2.5 million ha.
One of the biggest advantages of the new soybean variety – Genuity Roundup Ready 2 – apart from its valuable contribution to the food chain, is the production of omega–3 fatty acids to meet the growing demand for heart healthy ingredients.
The new crop could also relieve pressure on the world’s fish stocks. Demand for omega–3 fatty acids is rising. At present the principal source is from fish.
The crop benefit to farmers is a yield increase of 7% to 11% over first generation Roundup Ready soybeans. Commercialisation is expected in 2014/15.
Although Monsanto pioneered the GM technology, a new wave of biotech crops developed independently of Monsanto is sweeping the world. China has developed and commercially approved the world’s first Bt rice and GM phytase maize. Both have been developed by Chinese public sector institutions offering similar benefits to other developing countries but also globally.
Business News Sector Tags: Food|