Food Fight Over Genetically Modified Foods

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Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) –- MIT Technology Review Editor David Rotman discusses the growing global food demand and genetically modified foods with Tangent Capital Partner’s Bob Rice and Deirdre Bolton on Bloomberg Television’s “Money Moves.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Reaction from this piece than almost anything you have written in the past.

Is that true?

That is absolutely true.

What we try to do is really look for and see what the opportunities are with the technology.

What did you find question ? by 2050, the population of the world will be more than nin 9 billion people.

Climate change is making -- putting many stresses on agriculture.

Drought is becoming more common.

Heat stress is becoming more common.

In general, the unpredictability of weather is really stressing agriculture.

What we argue in this cover story is that genetic engineering of food is one tool, not the only tool, but one tool that could help crops adapt to some of these changes.

One of the things i thought the article pointed out that was very interesting was that when we think about climate change, we think about something that is happening very gradually -- average temperatures are not changing very much.

You point out that that is not the question in terms of crop damage.

It is how many extreme days you get in a given year.

We are already experienced that in spades.

Right.

One of the most interesting things i found from research -- some showing that it is the extremely hot days that is putting stress on corn and wheat and rice.

Above 30 degrees celsius, these crops are really stressed by the heat.

It is not the average temperatures so much as the number of extremely hot days.

David, hold that thought.

We're going to be back in a few minutes.

More with david and the controversy over the use of genetically modified foods.

Bob rice is staying with me as well.

? we continue our conversation with david rodman.

He is the editor of the m.i.t. technology review on the controversy over the use of genetically modified foods.

David, what about all the people that freak out that say that it is horrible for human beings to eat anything that has in genetically modified?

Sure.

Everyone is worried about their food.

Genetically modified crops have been commercialized since 1996. it has been known -- there's been no documented credible example of health damage from any of these gm crops.

That's what big tobacco said 60 years ago.

There's nothing wrong with it.

Smoke away.

Sure.

Sure.

The difference here is that genetic engineering is really just a tool.

One to examine crop by crop come example by example, each of these new types of plants.

Genetic modification is just a way to put into -- to put new traits into these plans.

Each time you do that, you need to test carefully.

Monitor the effect and looked case-by-case at each example.

One of the more interesting things to me about this is becaus -- the reason we has tripled in price is because sony farmers have chosen to move from weeks to corn production because these new hybrid corn seeds are so much more drought resistant.

They are therefore much more profitable for the farmer.

It is having a major impact on who is growing what in the united states.

That is right.

What we try to do with this article is step back and look at what will be the growing demand for the world in terms of food, in terms of the food demand for the next several decades.

See what type of crops, what type of traits would be most important to develop to increase the food supply.

What i have seen with some of the hedge fund managers is farmland arbitrage from which is something i thought i would never hear as long as i lived.

Managers are going in and buying up farms that are currently producing wheat bread on the edge of where climate change is also being impactful and switching over to the much more profitable corn crops.

That is one of the primary ways in which these managers are making money, buying relatively inexpensive farmlands to make it even more valuable by changing the crops.

Right.

One of the reasons we say that we will need genetically modified food is that, in terms of feeding the growing population, we don't want to use much more land.

We don't want to use much more water.

We want to make the current farming areas more productive without expanding the agricultural land.

A very bravely written article.

We thank you very much for sharing it with us.

David rothman joining us there

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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