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Will Biotech Feed the World?
The Broader Context

Craig Holdrege

When I speak about genetic engineering and agriculture, one of the most frequent questions is about feeding the world. How are we going to feed a growing human population, when already many millions of people around the globe are undernourished and suffering from hunger and even starvation? On our planet with nearly six billion people, 840 million are undernourished. Proponents of modern industrial agriculture believe genetically engineered crops hold the promise of a new green revolution, a revolution that will bring higher yields and nutritionally enhanced crops to so-called developing (third-world) countries.

Most recently, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a report describing how biotechnology can “help significantly in meeting the food and livelihood needs of a growing population” (FAO 2004, p. vii). Since the FAO is known for its multifaceted efforts to empower small poor farmers in the th