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Biotechnology cannot ensure food security, experts say

Biotechnology may as well play an important role in ensuring global food security but it is unlikely to be the main solution.

In connection with the Polish Presidency of the EU a group of leading academics – led by Prof Tim Benton, UK – from across all of Europe met in the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw to make a consensus statement on Europe as a key player in global food security.

The team of scientists covered expertise in agriculture, economics, sociology, environment, ecology, conservation, water and food consumption.

The final statement of the group of experts criticized the importance given to the role of biotechnologies in fighting hunger and famine, and stressed that “Innovations and institutions concerning management of farming systems and agricultural landscapes in an environmentally sensitive way may well provide greater scope in addressing this issue globally”. The statement was delivered to the Polish minister of agriculture and rural development – Poland is currently holding the EU Presidency –  on the 7th of October 2011.

The team advised targeting global food security needs through a cross-sectoral approach, one that combines agricultural production, environment, health and socio-economics, following the principles of sustainable intensification.

There also was consensus that the EU should maintain its productive agricultural land in order to meet future food demands, whether for the EU or the rest of the world.

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