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Association for Sense About Science Natural History Museum M.S. Swaminathan, FRS UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology President, Pugwash Conferences on Science.

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Presentation on theme: "Association for Sense About Science Natural History Museum M.S. Swaminathan, FRS UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology President, Pugwash Conferences on Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 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?

2 Famines and Public Good Plant Breeding The Irish Potato Famine of 1840s triggered the search for new genes in tuber-bearing Solanum species.

3 “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)

4 Major Famines of the 20 th Century YearEpicentre Excess Mortality 1943Bengal 2.7 to 3.00 million deaths 1958-62China 16.5 to 29.5 million 1972-75Ethiopia 2 lakhs 1972-74Bangladesh 1.5 million 1973Sahel 1 lakh Source : Amartya Sen, Poverty and Famines, 1981


6 HaitiCan’t- be-saved EgyptCan’t-be-saved The GambiaWalking Wounded TunisiaShould Receive Food Libya Walking Wounded IndiaCan’t-be-saved PakistanShould Receive Food Famine : Triage classification of countries - Paul and William Paddock, 1967

7 Variation in Australian Average Wheat Yield (Ten-Year Mean) from 1860 to 2000 Fighting Soil Hunger

8 Water Conservation and Management : Key to Crop Security The rice terraces of Bali

9 Green Revolution in Europe oBegan with Liebig’s discovery of mineral fertilizer in the 1850s oSoil health, water management and plant protection proved to be key factors in determining crop productivity oMendelian genetics helped to breed strains capable of responding well to soil fertility and irrigation water management

10 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

11 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 t2000 : 80 Million t


13 oSome 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. oThe 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. Ehrlich 1968

14 Synergy between Technology and Public Policy Science and Agricultural Progress 1968 – The Beginning of Green Revolution

15 oPedigree Selection oInter-varietal Hybridization oWinter x Spring Wheat crosses oMutation Breeding oAneuploid and Genomic Breeding oRestructuring Plant Architecture : Semi-dwarf wheat oShuttle Breeding and Photo-insensitivity oHybrid Wheat oApomixis oFunctional Genomics and Molecular Breeding Hundred Years of Wheat Breeding

16 Land and Forest Saving Agriculture

17 Non-lodging, greater absorption of sun light, better root system, higher harvest index and photo-insensitivity New Plant Type in Rice

18 8000 BC 1900 Land races 1930 Pureline selection 1950 Cross breds 2010 Biotech- nology 1995 Indica/ Indica hybrids 2005 Indica/ Tropical japonica hybrids 19651990 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 SectorPublic-Private Sector

19 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

20 “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

21 “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

22 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

23 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

24 Growth Rates in the Production of Food Grain Fatigue of the Green Revolution

25 Where do we need to go now? oIn population rich and land hungry countries, there is no option except to produce more from less per capita arable land and irrigation water. oThe smaller the farm, the greater is the need for marketable surplus, to get cash income oThere is need for anticipatory research to face future challenges like global warming and sea level rise oObviously an integrated approach to Mendelian and molecular breeding will be essential to make progress

26 Mangroves : Useful Sources of Genes for Salinity Tolerance Anticipatory Research

27 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 Facing the Challenge of Sea level Rise

28 Integrated Mendelian and Molecular Breeding Transgenic (T 1 ) rice plants with genes from mangroves in the greenhouse (salt tolerance upto 150 mM)

29 “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

30 Organic Farming 1) Soil Health 2) Water Quality 3) Plant Health 5) Animal Health Vermiculture Bio-fertilisers Stem nodulating green manure crops Bioremediation Genetic Resistance Biopesticides Vaccines High quality feeds and fodder 6) Environment 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

31 “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

32 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.

33 Genetic Modification in Crop Plants: IFOAM Concerns and Way Ahead S.NoConcern Way Ahead 1. Negative and irreversible environmental impacts Needs careful monitoring; no documentary proof so far 2. Release of organisms which have never before existed in nature and which cannot be recalled 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 3. Pollution of the gene-pool of cultivated crops, micro- organisms and animals Declaring centres of origin and diversity as GMO free sanctuaries Contd…

34 S.NoConcern Way Ahead 4. Denial of free choice, both for farmers and consumers Genetic literacy; labelling of GM foods 5. Violation of farmers’ fundamental property rights and endangerment of their independence Safeguarding Farmers’ Rights through legislation and getting a Universal Declaration on “The Plant Genome and Farmers’ Rights” adopted in FAO 6. Practices which are incompatible with the principles of sustainable agriculture 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 Contd…

35 S.NoConcern Way Ahead 7. Unacceptable threats to human health Strengthening screening for allergenic properties; developing and adopting “clean gene” transformation techniques. 8. Ban GMOs in all agriculture 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.

36 NGO Declaration FAO Rome World Food Summit Plus Five (2002) S.NoConcern Way Ahead 1. GMOs represent a threat to family farmers and other food producers Need for greater public under- standing and public-professional consensus on threats and opportunities 2. GMOs affect the integrity of genetic resources and environmental health Declare areas of origin and diversity of crop plants as GMO- free zones; Avoid genetic homogeneity 3. GMOs affect adversely human health Both the science (eg. antibiotic markers) and food safety standards need careful review; Codex alimentarius standards have to be appropriately reformulated

37 S.NoConcern Way Ahead 4. GMOs will affect parti- cularly the rural poor, who cannot afford this costly alternative 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. 5. Monopolistic control by Multi-national companies over food security Enlarge support to public good research both National and International

38 “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

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