The global population is exploding — and food security hinges upon biotech crops

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Child in Malawi eats a sweet potato with boosted vitamin A levels. Credit: Ripple Africa
Child in Malawi eats a sweet potato with boosted vitamin A levels. Credit: Ripple Africa

The world’s population is growing. At the same time, the amount of cropland is decreasing. So now a big challenge for scientists is to produce more crops on less land. In this case, there is no alternative to inventing varieties tolerant to various crop obstacles such as diseases, salinity, drought, waterlogging etc. 

Women and children in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America or the Caribbean are particularly at risk of various diseases and premature death due to lack of various essential micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc. A great way to solve all these problems can be to get these nutrients in the foods that are readily available to us.

In the case of plant breeding, the production of orange sweet potatoes can be a success story in meeting nutritional needs.

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[O]range sweet potatoes are enhanced by biotechnology, which increases the vitamin A uptake of these plants and carries far more vitamins than the common white sweet potato species in Africa. This is really encouraging news where every year thousands of African children go blind due to lack of vitamin A.

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