Leading researchers say it is possible to create crop varieties that are more resistant to drought and flooding and that respond especially well to rising carbon dioxide. The scientists are less certain that crops can be made to withstand withering heat, though genetic engineering may eventually do the trick.
3) Let's not view plant breeding and biotechnology as a panacea to climate change. There are many other factors in global agriculture that are not related to climate change. Improved plant varieties can be difficult to translate into direct benefits, especially in developing countries, because farmers must use new management techniques and buy into the higher-input system. This is why extension education is critical for agricultural development, in all parts of the world. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, farmers would just benefit from using more fertilizer, which is the main barrier to higher crop yields (Vitousek et al., 2009). However, fertilizer prices are exorbitantly high (Otsuka & Kijima, 2010). Thus, technology is not the easy answer that we wish it were. Otsuka and Kijima write that, "we should not overlook the fact that rice yield increased by roughly 50% and non-rice yield increased by nearly 100% in SSA over the last three decades since around 1970 despite the absence of major technological breakthroughs" (Otsuka & Kijima, 2010, p. ii66). Even in the Green Revolution, it was not a straightforward path from science to technology to application.
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