Mohammad B.H. Najafi and Byong H. Lee
Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Department of Food Science & Technology, P. O. Box 91779- 1163 Mashhad, Iran.
A global recession, along with highly increased food prices in many countries in unregenerate manner, have caused some 100 million more people than last year suffering from silent hunger and poverty that would leave the world extremely vulnerable. The global food crisis potentially imposes a serious risk towards world peace and security.
The crop production however will have to be dramatically increased to meet the need. The ability of biotechnology to act as a tool to assist in solving the issue is far from being fully exploited.
Low crops production is considered to be the main reason for poverty and food insecurity in the world. High percentage of poor and food insecure people are living in developing countries and in rural aereas. Therefore, biotechnology can:1) increase the crops yield through introducing high-yielding varieties resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses; 2) reduce pest– associated losses; and 3) increase the nutritional values of foods which is a very important factor in rural areas or developing countries. Furthermore, in order to reduce or eliminate food insecurity, postharvest approach in wasting less is of a vital strategy to supplement increasing food productivity. Hence, the environmental issues in supplying safe and nutritious foods in a sustainable manner should be taken into account.
Biotechnology research and development have already produced significant products on the market, and will further have a pivotal role to play in encouraging and enhancing food production, considering the safety and environmental quality. Although the major concern being the safety and potential impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on human health, the future of biotech crops looks encouraging as the global area of biotech crops continue to increase yearly and commercialization of drought tolerant maize and Golden Rice are expected in 2013/2014. Thus, biotech crops could possibly contribute in accomplishing the 2015 Millennium Development Goal particularly in reducing poverty by half through maximizing crop productivity.
Microorganisms play a vital role in sustaining soil health and productivity, in the process of plant biomass conversion to produce both food and fuel, and in the production of novel foods and feeds mainly by fermentation.
This review discussed the current trends and future perspectives on how biotechnology and genetic engineering can help us to provide safe and secure food and can act as a valuable tool to reduce poverty.
Biotechnology, food security, poverty, economical issues.