G8 Supports Biotech’s Role In Addressing Global Food Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tuesday, July 08, 2008) - Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations agree that biotechnology could help farmers to increase crop productivity and provide more healthful food around the globe.  Addressing the critical issue of global food security, the leaders agreed today to “promote science-based risk analysis including on the contribution of seed varieties developed through biotechnology.”

Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, executive vice president for food and agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to this action at the G8 Summit in Japan: 

“As these leaders have said, now is the time to invest in science-based solutions to better achieve sustainable food and fuel production.  Biotechnology is already providing those solutions to farmers globally with biotech plants that can produce more with lower costs per acre while being resistant to disease and pests. 

“According to the USDA, we’re seeing enthusiastic adoption of these crops in the United States, especially varieties of corn, cotton and soybeans that are herbicide-tolerant and resistant to insects.  In the very near future, we’ll see crops that area drought-tolerant and crops that use soil nutrients more efficiently.  These will allow farmers to grow crops in areas with inadequate rainfall or poor soil. 

“Scientists have determined how to fortify some food plants, such as the cassava, a staple root crop in many developing countries, with enough vitamins, minerals and protein to provide the poor and malnourished with a day's worth of nutrition in a single meal.  Studies also are under way to extend shelf life so foods can be stored longer or shipped further with fewer losses.

“Agricultural biotechnology has environmental benefits as well because biotech crop varieties require less tilling and fewer pesticide applications, thereby saving fuel and reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the air. This also can improve soil health and water retention. 

“The forward-thinking approach shown by G8 leaders this week represents a commitment to use the tools of science to address the world’s demand for a sustainable food and fuel supply.  We applaud the governments for embracing these technologies, fostering their development and supporting a regulatory system to provide for their safe and efficient commercialization.” 

Upcoming BIO Events

Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
Sept. 10-12, 2008
Vancouver, BC

BIO Investor Forum 2008
October 29-31, 2008
San Francisco, CA

BIO-Europe 2008
November 17-19, 2008
Mannheim/Heidelberg, Germany

About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.