NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Hungry Want Biotechnology

December 9, 1999

Today we feed six billion people much better than we fed four billion 20 years ago, says former U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp. This is mostly due to scientific advances in food production and nutrition, including genetic engineering.

Former President Jimmy Carter says that by increasing crop yields, genetic engineering reduces "the constant need to clear more land for growing food. Seeds designed to resist drought and pests are especially useful in tropical countries, were crop losses often are severe."

  • Carter makes clear that the poorest, hungriest people of the world have the most to lose in the public relations assault on bioengineered foods.
  • Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, who heads the Carter Center's effort to improve crop yields in Africa, points out that what some Europeans call genetically modified foods are just advances in conventional plant breeding -- used for years to increase yields, nutritional value and pest and disease resistance.
  • By 2020, according to the Food Policy Research Institute, we must increase grain production 40 percent to keep up with population growth.

We can do so, says Kemp, without putting the world's wildlife and entire ecosystems at risk by pressing more land into production and without wider use of pesticides; but only if we use biotechnology.

Source: Jack Kemp (senior fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute), "Bioengineering Lets Farmers Feed the World," Dallas Morning News, December 9, 1999.


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