Genomics to help meet future world food needs

14-01-2014 | | |
Genomics to help meet future world food needs
Genomics to help meet future world food needs

More than two-thirds of the extra food needed to feed the world’s expanding population will need to come through advances in technology, Jerry Moye, president of Cobb-Vantress Inc, told leaders of the UK farming industry.

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, he said to meet the doubling in food supply estimated to be required in 2050 improved efficiency would have to contribute some 70% along with additional farmland and increased cropping.

The poultry industry has an important role to play through increasing the efficiency of broiler production. “Broiler genetics have made great strides and still have huge potential for improvement,” he said.

Moye took the example of improved feed conversion. Over the 10 years to 2010 the improvement of 0.145 meant that 17.4 million tonnes less feed are now required to produce the 60 billion broilers consumed around the world each year.

With maize making up 55% of the diet, 9.57 million fewer tonnes are needed each year – equivalent to cropping 2.66 million fewer acres (1.08 fewer hectares) of maize.

“Everyone in agriculture has a responsibility to produce safe food,” said Moye. “Animal breeding must develop animals that are fit for use in agriculture.  Genetics and agriculture must develop products that meet the needs of all consumers.

“Consumer interest movements should be broadminded enough to understand their potential impact outside of their respective market places.”

Moye said that use of a genomic strategy in continuing the advances in poultry breeding would help sustainable intensification through increasing food production from existing farmland while minimising pressure on the environment.

“We are serving our customers through use of innovative research and technology to make protein healthy and affordable for everyone.”