Biotechnology in Agriculture: Developing Solutions to Feed the World


DR. CLAUDE FAUQUET: My
name is Claude Fauquet, and I am the director of the
Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century. For the last 26 years, I
worked on genetic engineering of cassava. And I am here touring
several European countries at the invitation of the
State Department of America to show how we can combine
genetic engineering with the bene– for the benefit
of feeding the world by 2050. So– and there is
a major constraint on cassava in Africa. We call this viruses,
these virus– diseases are infecting the crop. And genetic engineering is
a fantastic opportunity, fantastic tool to control
these viruses better. So for the last
26 years, we have been developing the
technique, learning how to make it possible. And now we are at the point
where we are a few years away from commercialization, meaning
distributing to poor farmers improved materials
that they like. This example is
not the only one. There is a number
of other example on banana, on cowpea, on
sweet potato and rice, where we can control a
variety of bacterial diseases, viral diseases, and insect. And all this
specific program can help to target very important
losses for these crop and thereby improving the
potential for food security. Now I want to mention that
in the coming 36 years, in addition to the
challenges we have already, about 800 million people
today suffer from food. About $2 billion people
suffer from malnutrition. Genetic engineering
can bring some solution for some specific
problem in some crops and I see no reason
why we would not use this fantastic and safe
technologies for the benefit of humanity in order to
contribute to food security by 2050.