The Managing Director of Agricultural Information Center LID says it’s time to invest more into agricultural biotechnology and food nutrition.

Markus Rediger stated that the role of the media and writers is critical to achieving the global ambition to feed the world by 2050 and restore a million hectares of land.

The former International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) president believes everyone must be involved keenly in the decision process while noting that inclusive authority and social justice at all levels protect the rights of all humans.

“We must unify and take action, today, for the future of agriculture and our planet. With the challenges the world is facing in relation to achieving global food security and the exponential growth in population, GM technology will gradually become the order of the day and, therefore, there is a need for us to invest in developing capacity for GMOs.

“Agriculture is integral to all three pillars, from ensuring there is enough nutritious food for all to enabling local economies and communities to thrive. GMO may not be the only solution to feeding the world, but it is the best option the world has got now,” Mr Rediger said.

He said this during the Alltech ONE Conference on the theme ‘Innovation and resilience’ uncovering the challenges and opportunities in agriculture and professional development.

It's time to invest more into biotechnology and food nutrition is now – Former IFAJ president

Mr Rediger stated that unlocking the continent’s agricultural potential will create jobs and provide enough food for domestic supply.

He added that the task was made more urgent by the vast sums spent on food imports, with Africa spending an annual total of about $35bn on importation.

Now in its 38th year, the event brought inspiring keynote speakers and over 100 industry leaders to the stage, sharing valuable insights in live workshops and focus tracks in Lexington, Kentucky.

On his part, Steve Werblow, a freelance agricultural writer and IFAJ Vice president increased investment into biotechnology and GMOs could be the sure way to boost agricultural production in Africa.

He expressed worries about how climate change was negatively impacting agricultural production when land areas for farming activities were drastically reducing.

Mr Werblow believes GMOs was the best option for the globe, especially in Africa.

“It’s time to connect writers and communicators with farmers, so they can expose them to newly introduced innovations and technologies.

“Africa has a comparative advantage to export more food to the global market, yet the non-existence of key agricultural infrastructure and non-application of new innovations makes it impossible for farmers to supply Africa and the rest of the globe with food.

“Why should we sit and watch some anti-technology civil society groups thwart the efforts by scientists to help improve agriculture through innovation,” he quizzed.

He stated that “Anti-GMO campaigns end up not only putting fear in people but also undermining the food security efforts of various stakeholders.

“Research says Africa stands to make extraordinary gains when the technology eventually gets into the hands of ordinary farmers and that is why the nation needs it.

“GMOs will help Africa, as the technology will help improve agriculture. Issues of climate change, pest attacks and low crop yield are some of the key reasons Africa needs GMOs.

“For us, genetically improved seeds serve as one of the most effective approaches to deal with these challenges.

“We could not achieve special traits through conventional breeding are being made possible through GMO technology and gene editing techniques.

“Agriculture is not a secondary profession neither a fallback profession nor something you do when you don’t have anything else to do,” said the Vice president.

The 2022 Alltech conference brought together 2,000 international delegates in person, with an additional 5,000 participating virtually.

The world-class event brought inspiring keynote speakers and more than 100 industry leaders to the stage, sharing valuable insights in live workshops and focus tracks and uncovering the challenges and opportunities in agriculture and professional development.