Food security and innovative tools with a global food system approach
Document typeExternal research report
Rights accessOpen Access
The current challenge of agriculture is to ensure sustainability, being aware that in the next half century we must produce as much as in the previous ten thousand years. At the same time, we should improve crop resilience, in an unquestionable scenario of climate change. The World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) urges us to achieve Food Security, which is the situation in which everybody, has physical and economic access to sufficient, safe nutritious food at all times, to satisfy their nutritional needs and preferences, in order to lead an active and healthy life. In recent years we have seen an exponential increase in the knowledge of the molecular basis of genetic traits that are important for food production. Some of these technologies have been developed in Europe, and benefit producers from other parts of the world, from whom our countries then import its products for our consumption. It has been possible to increase the micronutrient content of fruit, delay their ripening or incorporate resistance to viruses, fungi and bacteria. Thus, using tools borrowed from bacterial defence mechanisms (CRISPR-Cas9 and derivatives), it is possible to act in a controlled and timely manner on the desired areas of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), as could be the case in the fight against TR4 fungus in the banana. This crop occupies about ten million hectares with an annual production of one hundred million tons. It is part of the basic diet of four hundred million people and is cultivated in all tropical and subtropical regions constituting the fourth food crop only behind the rice, wheat and corn. No fungicide has been found that allows chemical control of the fungus that remains in infected soils for periods exceeding thirty years, so it is urgent to obtain new resistant varieties. The document aims to sensitize society and legislators about the importance of science and technology, with a sustainable global food system approach (availability, policies, economy and culture) to meet the food challenges of the 21st century.
CitationPío, J. [et al.]. Food security and innovative tools with a global food system approach. 2020.