In the past, the fundamental forces that improved the world’s food supply were the interactions of economic, institutional and technological change and innovation. In the early twenty-first century, however, hunger and poverty still remain persistent phenomena in large parts of the world. Today, around 800 million people suffer from chronic food insecurity; almost all of them reside in developing countries (FAO, 1999a). Although the relative proportion of the undernourished shrank significantly over the last 30 years, the absolute number of hungry people has decreased only slightly. In some parts of the world — notably in Africa — the number has actually increased. Rapid demographic and economic developments further aggravate the situation. The medium-variant projections of the United Nations forecast a population growth of almost one-third until the year 2020 (UN, 1999). During the same period, the average per capita incomes in developing countries will more than double (Pinstrup-Andersen et al., 1999). Consequently, the global demand for food will increase tremendously both in terms of quantity and quality.
KeywordsTransgenic Crop Agricultural Biotechnology International Agricultural Research International Food Policy Research Institute Sustainable Food Security
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