Association for Sense About Science Natural History Museum M.S. Swaminathan, FRS UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology President, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai Where the Green Revolution has left us and where we need to go now? London, 22 May 2003 Public Good Plant Breeding : What are the international priorities?
Famines and Public Good Plant Breeding The Irish Potato Famine of 1840s triggered the search for new genes in tuber-bearing Solanum species.
“ This Conference, meeting in the midst of the greatest war ever waged, and in full confidence of victory, has considered world problems of food and agriculture and declares its belief that the goal of freedom from want of food, suitable and adequate for the health and strength of all peoples, can be achieved ”. Resolution of Conference convened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt Hot Springs Virginia (18 May to 3 June 1943)
Major Famines of the 20 th Century Source : Amartya Sen, Poverty and Famines, 1981 1 lakh Sahel 1973 1.5 million Bangladesh 1972-74 2 lakhs Ethiopia 1972-75 16.5 to 29.5 million China 1958-62 2.7 to 3.00 million deaths Bengal 1943 Excess Mortality Epicentre Year
Haiti Can’t- be-saved Egypt Can’t-be-saved The Gambia Walking Wounded Tunisia Should Receive Food Libya Walking Wounded India Can’t-be-saved Pakistan Should Receive Food Famine : Triage classification of countries - Paul and William Paddock, 1967
Variation in Australian Average Wheat Yield (Ten-Year Mean) from 1860 to 2000 Fighting Soil Hunger
Water Conservation and Management : Key to Crop Security The rice terraces of Bali
Began with Liebig’s discovery of mineral fertilizer in the 1850s
Soil health, water management and plant protection proved to be key factors in determining crop productivity
Mendelian genetics helped to breed strains capable of responding well to soil fertility and irrigation water management
Daruma (Japanese semi-dwarf) X Fultz (U.S. winter wheat, high yield) Fultz-Daruma (semi-dwarf, high yield) Locals (adapted to U.S. Northwest) X X Turkey Red (U.S. winter, high yield) Norin 10 (semi-dwarf, winter, high yield) Gaines (semi-dwarf, winter, U.S. adpted) X Local Strains New Wheats (semi-dwarf, high yield, adaptable, rust-resistant, fast-maturing,spring) Origin of the semi-dwarf wheats Power of Mendelian Breeding
Public good Plant Breeding and assured and remunerative marketing triggered rapid progress Wheat Production – India now occupies the Second Position in the World 1965: 10 Million t 2000 : 80 Million t
Some time between 1970 and 1985 the world will undergo vast famines — hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death. That is, they will starve to death unless plague, thermonuclear war, or some other agent kills them first.
The United States should announce that it will no longer ship food to countries such as India where dispassionate analysis indicates that the unbalance between food and population is hopeless.
Synergy between Technology and Public Policy Science and Agricultural Progress 1968 – The Beginning of Green Revolution
Non-lodging , greater absorption of sun light, better root system, higher harvest index and photo-insensitivity New Plant Type in Rice
8000 BC 1900 Land races 1930 Pureline selection 1950 Cross breds 2010 Biotech- nology 1995 Indica/ Indica hybrids 2005 Indica/ Tropical japonica hybrids 1965 1990 2000 New plant type Semidwarfs (IR8) (IR72) 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Potential yield (t/ha) From Green to Gene Revolution in Rice Public Sector Public-Private Sector
Genetic Resources (building blocks) Biotechnologies (tools) Commercial Products (market value) $ Sui generis Systems (Rights) Benefit-sharing (collective rights) (e.g. Farmers’ Rights and the Global Plan of Action) Intellectual Property Rights (individual rights) % (e.g. Plant Breeder’s Rights) FAO – International Treaty – Art, 9 (also Art. 12 &13) CBD – Art, 8 (j) WIPO WTO/TRIPS (Art. 27.3.b) UPOV Access to Genetic Resources and Biotechnologies for Food and Agriculture
“ Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth” - Albert Schweitzer Environment and Development : Early Warning Rachel Carson 1962 : Silent Spring
“ Intensive cultivation of land without conservation of soil fertility and soil structure would lead ultimately to the springing up of deserts. Irrigation without arrangements for drainage would result in soils getting alkaline or saline. Indiscriminate use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides could cause adverse changes in biological balance as well as lead to an increase in the incidence of cancer and other diseases, through the toxic residues present in the grains or other edible parts. Unscientific tapping of underground water would lead to the rapid exhaustion of this wonderful capital resource left to us through ages of natural farming. The rapid replacement of numerous locally adapted varieties with one or two high yielding strains in large contiguous areas would result in the spread of serious diseases capable of wiping out entire crops, as happened prior to the Irish potato famine of 1845 and the Bengal rice famine of 1942. Therefore, the initiations of exploitative agriculture without a proper understanding of the various consequences of every one of the changes introduced into traditional agriculture and without first building up a proper scientific and training base to sustain it, may only lead us into an era of agricultural disaster in the long run, rather than to an era of agricultural prosperity.” Scientific rationale for an Ever-green revolution
M S Swaminathan
Indian Science Congress, Varanasi, January 1968
What nations with small farms and resource poor farmers need is the enhancement of productivity in perpetuity , without associated ecological or social harm. The green revolution should become an ever-green revolution rooted in the principles of ecology, economics and social and gender equity. - M S Swaminathan , 1990 Concept of Ever-green Revolution
Green Revolution Ever-green Revolution Commodity Centered Experiment Station Research Integrated Natural Resources Management Centered Participatory Research Paradigm Shift : Adding the Dimension of Environmental sustainability
Growth Rates in the Production of Food Grain Fatigue of the Green Revolution
In population rich and land hungry countries, there is no option except to produce more from less per capita arable land and irrigation water.
The smaller the farm, the greater is the need for marketable surplus, to get cash income
There is need for anticipatory research to face future challenges like global warming and sea level rise
Obviously an integrated approach to Mendelian and molecular breeding will be essential to make progress
Mangroves : Useful Sources of Genes for Salinity Tolerance Anticipatory Research
Facing the Challenge of Sea level Rise cDNA libraries were constructed from the Mangrove species Avicennia marina A number of genes with potential application to abiotic stress has been isolated and charactreised Four isolated genes were used for developing transgenics in rice, Brassica and Vigna Transgenic plants with salinity tolerance genes Avicennia marina
Integrated Mendelian and Molecular Breeding Transgenic (T 1 ) rice plants with genes from mangroves in the greenhouse (salt tolerance upto 150 mM)
“ Organic agriculture includes all agricultural systems that promote the environmentally, socially and economically sound production of food and fibres. These systems take local soil fertility as a key to successful production.” International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) - 2002 Organic Agriculture and Evergreen Revolution
Organic Farming 1) Soil Health 2) Water Quality 3) Plant Health 5) Animal Health
Stem nodulating green manure crops
High quality feeds and fodder
Biomonitoring through Bio-indicators
Higher Carbon Sequestration
4) Post-harvest Technology
New strains with improved keeping, processing and transport qualities
IFOAM : Genetic Engineering is excluded in organic agriculture Biotechnology and Organic Agriculture
“ We are committed to study, share and facilitate the responsible use of biotechnology in addressing development needs” Civil Society Organisations’ Declaration “ Genetically modified organisms represent a threat to family farmers, other food producers, the integrity of genetic resources and human and environmental health. They will affect particularly the rural poor, who cannot afford this costly alternative” World Food Summit Plus 5,Rome (June 10-13, 2002) Declaration on Biotechnology
The Way Ahead Our ability to achieve a paradigm shift from green to an ever-green revolution and our ability to face the challenges of global warming and sea level rise will depend upon our ability to harmonise organic farming and the new genetics.
Genetic Modification in Crop Plants: IFOAM Concerns and Way Ahead Contd… Declaring centres of origin and diversity as GMO free sanctuaries Pollution of the gene-pool of cultivated crops, micro-organisms and animals 3. Applies to micro-organisms. First patent for a LMO Pseudomonas was obtained by Anand Chakroborty in 1981. No problem reported so far, but prospects for bio-terrorism need surveillance Release of organisms which have never before existed in nature and which cannot be recalled 2. Needs careful monitoring; no documentary proof so far Negative and irreversible environmental impacts 1. Way Ahead Concern S.No
Contd… Avoiding genetic homogeneity and thereby genetic vulnerability to biotic and abiotic stresses through an integrated system of pre-breeding and participatory breeding with farm families Practices which are incompatible with the principles of sustainable agriculture 6. Safeguarding Farmers’ Rights through legislation and getting a Universal Declaration on “The Plant Genome and Farmers’ Rights” adopted in FAO Violation of farmers’ fundamental property rights and endangerment of their independence 5. Genetic literacy; labelling of GM foods Denial of free choice, both for farmers and consumers 4. Way Ahead Concern S.No
Fifty years of research since the discovery of the Double Helix structure of DNA has revealed enormous potential for the safe and responsible use of genetic engineering in medicine, agri-culture, industry and environment protection (bio-monitoring and bio-remediation). Rather than repeat Lysenkoism in scientific enquiry, it is important that mandatory codes of conduct and regulatory mechanisms which inspire public confidence are put in place. Ban GMOs in all agriculture 8. Strengthening screening for allergenic properties; developing and adopting “ clean gene ” transformation techniques. Unacceptable threats to human health 7. Way Ahead Concern S.No
NGO Declaration FAO Rome World Food Summit Plus Five (2002) Both the science (eg. antibiotic markers) and food safety standards need careful review; Codex alimentarius standards have to be appropriately reformulated GMOs affect adversely human health 3. Declare areas of origin and diversity of crop plants as GMO-free zones; Avoid genetic homogeneity GMOs affect the integrity of genetic resources and environmental health 2. Need for greater public under-standing and public-professional consensus on threats and opportunities GMOs represent a threat to family farmers and other food producers 1. Way Ahead Concern S.No
Enlarge support to public good research both National and International Monopolistic control by Multi-national companies over food security 5. Public policies which can ensure that appropriate genetic material reach the unreached should be put in place. They come under the non-trade distorting pro-visions of WTO. GMOs will affect parti-cularly the rural poor, who cannot afford this costly alternative 4. Way Ahead Concern S.No
“ The problem before us is how to feed billions of new mouths over the next several decades and save the rest of life at the same time, without being trapped in a Faustian bargain that threatens freedom from security. The benefits must come from an evergreen revolution . The aim of this new thrust is to lift food production well above the level attained by the green revolution of the 1960s, using technology and regulatory policy more advanced and even safer than now in existence” Edward O. Wilson, 2002 The Future of life Ever-green Revolution