Chemistry and World Food Supplies

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Science  26 Nov 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4575, pp. 847-853
DOI: 10.1126/science.218.4575.847


Much of the unprecedented increase in developing countries' food production in the past two decades is due to chemical-based technologies and to the use of agricultural chemicals. However, these successes were won under generally favorable conditions of soil, climate, and irrigation water availability. The challenge of the future is to broaden the base of increased food production to include areas less well endowed with natural and economic resources. Chemistry and chemicals must play vital roles in this venture. Innovative chemical and biochemical approaches must be called upon to produce crop varieties, animal strains, and associated technologies to overcome constraints such as insects and diseases, acid and alkaline soils, and drought conditions. Genetic engineering will probably be a primary mechanism to achieve this goal.