A MORE detailed understanding of just how big an issue food security will be over the next 100 years is altering the public’s perception of GM technology, according to Monsanto’s director of research Harvey Glick.
He acknowledged that there had been strong consumer resistance to GM products in places such as Europe, but said he believed the tide was turning.
“You look at the recent report from UK science academy, the Royal Society, and they produced a lengthy report that came out quite strongly on the need for biotechnology to meet food security needs.”
He said the perception of Europe as a stronghold of anti-GM opinion was not matched by the figures.
“Europe is one of the world’s leading importers of GM products, in the form of corn and soy beans, so you have to take these calls that Europe will not accept GM with some perspective.”
Dr Glick said he believed food security would be one of the largest issues confronting the world in the face of rising populations and said a suite of technologies needed to be used to meet the challenge.
“You look at the challenges ahead, why would you restrict yourself from making use of technologies that can boost yields, while also providing environmental benefits?
“I think the solution will be to make use of as many beneficial technologies as you can, whether they be with biotech or agronomic advances or whatever.
“I don’t think we should be limiting ourselves from using useful products on the basis of ideology.
“Australia is a good example, you’ve got some of the most efficient growers in the world, growers who are first to take up new practices, why should they be denied the most advanced technology available?”
“In the long run, GM technologies have to be part of the solution to the food security issue.”