Biotechnology for the sustainable agriculture

14:00 | 29/11/2012
Today, Hanoi University of Agriculture and Monsanto co-organised the workshop “Biotechnology for the Sustainable Agriculture”.

Hundreds of future Vietnamese agricultural specialists discussed with leading agriculture experts on the state of Vietnam’s agriculture and biotechnology application, a technology-based solution to ensure the sustainable agriculture in the future.

Vietnam’s agriculture is suffering the dramatic drop in the production area for most crops as part of consequences of urbanisation and industrialisation taking more and more land from agriculture. In contrast, Vietnam’s growing population is expected to reach 100 million in 2020, which means within a decade, Vietnam will have to feed a population of 100 million. Thus, to meet the needs for food, the matter lies in how to increase yielding on limited land capacity.

Since 1996, one of the solutions that 29 countries are applying to address the issue is biotechnology. According to International Service For The Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA) report, from 1996 to 2010, biotech crops contributed to Food Security, Sustainability and Climate Change by: increasing crop production valued at $78.4 billion; providing a better environment, by saving 443 million kg a.i. of pesticides; in 2010 alone reducing CO2 emissions by 19 billion kg, equivalent to taking approximately nine million cars off the road; conserving biodiversity by saving 91 million hectares of land; and helped alleviate poverty by helping 15.0 million small farmers who are some of the poorest people in the world.

“In the Philippines, biotechnology corn was approved for commercial propagation by the government 10 years ago thanks to the favourable policy environment and the functional, science-based regulation. As a result, according to the research of Dr. Leo Gonzales on the “Socio-economic  and Environmental Impacts of Baccilus Thuringiensis  after a Decade of Commercialisation”, ten years of biotechnology corn commercialisation in the Philippines indicated positive socio-economic impacts - biotechnology corn seed users were superior to ordinary hybrids (OH) ones in terms of yield, farm production cost, farm income, economic carrying capacities, global cost competitiveness, and return on investment.”

“During the years 2003-2011, the average yield advantage of biotechnology corn over ordinary hybrid (OH) corn was 19 per cent, on the average, biotechnology corn has a cost advantage of 10 per cent relative to organic, and the average real peso per kilogram income advantage of biotechnology corn over OH corn was 8 per cent per annum. In term of national economic carrying capacities, biotechnology corn consistently outperformed OH corn by 29 per cent, in meeting the food and poverty thresholds, and Bt corn users also had 42 per cent higher return on investment than OH corn users in that period,” said Charina Garrido-Ocampo, corporate affairs lead, Monsanto Philippines, Inc.

In the National Food Security Plan 2020, Vietnamese government stresses on the needs to strengthen research and the application of technology and reduce post-harvest losses as well as renovating land policies and enhance environmental protection standards. This is the inevitable trend of global agriculture industry to ensure food supply with no potential health risk which is scientifically proven.

As a world leading provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products, Monsanto is committed in providing tools for governments and farmers to produce more, conserve more and improve lives. Monsanto is working with governments, including Vietnam, to support governments to reach the output target and help farmers improve lives by providing higher and more profitable yield with lower production cost, improving the environment by reducing fuel use, soil erosion and reliance on persistent herbicides and increase return on investment for farmer.

“Monsanto has always been leading in the spending for research and development to provide better technology-based solutions to address food security issues.  As part of this vision, Monsanto pledged $10 million to provide fellowship opportunities to highly motivated individuals seeking their Ph.D. in rice or wheat plant breeding though Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program (MBBISP). The MBBISP honours the accomplishments of Dr. Henry Beachell and Dr. Norman Borlaug (Recipient of Nobel Prize in 1970), who pioneered plant breeding and research in rice and wheat, respectively,” said Shakilla Shahjihan, regional corporate affairs lead Monsanto.

Applications for 2013 open on November 1, 2012, until February 1, 2013. Students interested in applying to the programme can find more details at www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars .

Monsanto is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of the world's natural resources such as water and energy.

Dekalb Vietnam Co. Ltd. is a subsidiary of Monsanto in Vietnam focusing on the business of corn and vegetable seeds as well as biotechnology application products in agriculture.

Dekalb Vietnam was established in October 2010, five years after its operation under Monsanto Thailand representative office. Dekalb Vietnam is committed to be with Vietnamese farmers bringing tools to support them to produce more, conserve more and improve lives.
 

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