Biotechnology as a tool for improved agricultural productivity as a result of climate change and solution to reduced global warming due to agricultural activities Maurice E. Oyoo, * Muniu FK and Kibet PK [email_address] K. A. R. I. (Kenya)
Introduction Source: Stern Review on the economics of climate change, HM Treasury, 2006 Fig.1. Projected impacts to climate change
Its warned that temperatures could increase by 2 to 3 deg in the next 50 years with devastating effects
Intro cont… Adapted from FAO, world bank 2003 Table 1. The world population projection
The devastating effects from climate change are predicted amid
Growing world population
Reduced arable land area
Time 1950 1999 2050 World population (billions) 2 6 8 People fed per hectare (no.) 2 4 5 Cultivated land area/person (ha.) 0.45 0.25 0.15
Restore higher annual genetic gains to increase crop productivity
Enhance quality and nutrition
increased crop value ($2.5 to 3.0 billion in 2003)
Double crop production on same area of land
Save the forests biodiversity, 13m ha loss/ year
Environmental safety Impacts
Reduce need for external inputs- Pesticides- Potential to save 50% or 30,000mt in cotton alone . The accumulative reduction in pesticides for the period 1996 to 2004 was estimated at 172 500 MT of active ingredient, which is equivalent to a 14% reduction in the associated environmental impact of pesticide use on IT crops
Africa is still lagging behind in biotech field
Table 2: Leading world producers of GM foods Rank Country Area (million hectares) Biotech Crops 1* USA # 57.7 Soybean, maize, cotton, canola, squash, papaya, alfalfa 2* Argentina # 19.1 Soybean, maize, cotton 3* Brazil 15 Soybean, cotton 4* Canada # 7 Canola, maize, soybean 5* India 6.2 Cotton 6* China 3.8 Cotton, tomato, poplar, petunia, papaya, sweet pepper 7* Paraguay 2.6 Soybean 8* South Africa # 1.8 Maize, soybean, cotton 9* Uruguay 0.5 Soybean, maize 10* Philippines # 0.3 Maize 11* Australia # 0.1 Cotton 12* Spain 0.1 Maize 13* Mexico # 0.1 Cotton, soybean 14 Colombia # <0.1 Cotton, carnation 15 Chile # <0.1 Maize, soybean, canola 16 France <0.1 Maize 17 Honduras # <0.1 Maize 18 Czech Republic <0.1 Maize 19 Portugal <0.1 Maize 20 Germany <0.1 Maize 21 Slovakia <0.1 Maize 22 Romania <0.1 Maize 23 Poland <0.1 Maize * - 13 biotech mega - countries g rowing 50,000 hectares, or more, of biotech crops # - Deploying stacked products containing two or three traits with multiple benefits. Source: Clive James, 2007 .
Agriculture currently accounts for about 25% of GHG emissions.
Agriculture accounts for 14% of CO 2 emission, methane (CH 4 ) (48%) and nitrous oxide (N 2 O) (52%)
Implementing sustainable agricultural practices is therefore important
GMOs help decrease the necessity and frequency of spraying and tillage.
GM HT and IR Crops : maize, cotton, soybean, canola, sugar beet and grain sorghum hybrids have been developed reducing fuel used by farmers when they spray pesticides and herbicides on their fields, saving in CO 2 emissions
Biotechnology and greenhouse gas reduction conserved farming systems
Each litre of tractor diesel consumed contributes an estimated 2.75 kg of CO 2 into the atmosphere
The fuel savings associated with making fewer spray runs (relative to conventional crops) has resulted in permanent savings in CO 2 emissions
In 2005 this amounted to approx. 962 M kg ( 356 ML fuel reduction).
1996 - 2005 the cumulative permanent reduction is approx. 4,613 M kg of CO 2 (1,679 ML fuel reduction).
The adoption of NT or RT systems in respect of fuel use results in reductions of CO 2 emissions of 89.44 kg/ha and 40.43 kg/ha respectively
Biotechnology greenhouse gas reduction conserved farming systems cont…
Table 3. Tractor fuel consumption by tillage method Source: “GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2006,” Barfoot, P. and Brookes, G (2008). Tillage system Tractor fuel consumption ( Litre/ha) Traditional cultivation: mouldboard plough, disc and seed planting etc. 46.65 Conservation cultivation (RT): chisel plough, disc and seed planting 28.83 No-till (NT) (fertilizer knife, seed planting plus 2 sprays: pre-plant burn down and post-emergent) 14.12
By adopting more sustainable management practices, agriculture plays a large part in enhancing soil carbon sequestration
One way is by reducing conventional tillage
By leaving at least 30% of residue on the soil surface, NT reduces the loss of CO 2 from agricultural systems and reduces evaporative water loss from soils
In 2007, the NT area nearly doubled in the US
a 5-fold increase was recorded in Argentina, with GM Roundup Ready soybean estimated to account for 95% on the NT soybean area.
Soil carbon sequestered since 1996 is equivalent to 63,859 M Ton of CO 2 that has not been released into the global atmosphere because of adoption of GM HT crops
Table 4. Context of carbon sequestration impact 2006: car equivalents Source: GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1999-2006. Bafoot, P and Brookes, G (2008). Crop/trait/country Permanent CO2 savings arising from reduced fuel use (million kg of CO2) Average family car equivalents removed from the road for a year from the permanent fuel savings Potential additional soil carbon sequestration savings (million kg of CO2) Average family car equivalents removed from the road for a year from the potential additional soil carbon sequestration US: GM HT soybeans 245 108,877 4,064 1,806,345 Argentina: GMHT soybeans 659 293,094 6,994 3,108,408 Other countries: GM HT soybeans 77 34,091 813 361,547 Canada: GM HT canola 136 60,541 1,677 745,304 Global GM IR cotton 98 43,582 0 0 Total 1,215 540,186 13,549 6,021,604
N 2 O has a global warming potential of 296, about 300 more than CO 2
N 2 O stays in the atmosphere for more than 100 years
GM rice and canola that uses N more efficiently (NUE) already developed
NUE technology produces plants with yields that are equivalent to conventional varieties but which require significantly less N fertilizer
In Kenya, NUE maize is on trial stages
Biotechnology and Pest and disease surveillance in a changing climate
Biotech tools ( ELISA and PCR) can be used to detect and identify new and emerging pathogens that may have a stronger ability to establish and spread, or to become more abundant under changed climatic conditions
Commercial ELISA kits are available for many viruses, bacteria and fungi
GM crop (Research & Development) Major global players Leader countries in Africa * Field trials conducted Agricultural Biotechnology Focus in Africa Improved crop quality or HT or IT Developing countries with significant programs Countries with potential and/or engaged research
The benefits of GM crops are diverse and already proven relevant to developing countries as they are far less labour-intensive and simplified method of farming whilst at the same time providing a higher crop yield of upto 40%
Presently, the developing countries primarily benefiting from GM crops are situated in Asia and South America.
Of the 50 countries listed by the UN as least developed countries, 35 are in Africa: need to increase agricultural productivity in Africa with the realization that agriculture accounts for 70% of full time employment, contributes to 33% of the total GDP and 40% of the total export earnings
The Green Revolution of 1960s had little benefit in African as it required large scale upfront investments. GM crops are knowledge intensive as opposed to capital/labour intensive thus small-scale farmers with limited resources are able to make use of this technology esp now that climate change is here with us