Stories | May 1, 2018 | Read Time: 2 minutes
Crop Protection: Protecting More than Crops
This transcript has been slightly edited for readability.
Hi, my name is Liza Dunn and I’m the Medical Science Outreach Lead here at Monsanto.
Having worked in developing countries, I saw malnutrition and insect-borne illness up close and realized what an impact it was having on communities. At that point, I understood how important crop protection was for food security, and pesticides were for preventing insect-borne illness in kids.
Crop protection is critical to protect the food supply. Every year, thousands of acres get lost in the developing world because of insect pressure, weed pressure, and infections. Things like GMOs and pesticides actually help mitigate that so you get much more yield from your crop.
Pesticides are one of the most important advances in human health. They not only protect the food supply but they also protect kids from infectious diseases. Malaria kills about 3,000 kids every day. We don’t have great ways of controlling insect-borne illness, like Zika and Dengue and Malaria, without having pesticides.
Glyphosate is one of these chemicals that people take for granted. It is one of the most widely-used, important herbicides in the world. So, what happens when you ban glyphosate?
Well, we actually have a real-life example of that in Sri Lanka. Tea is responsible for paying for 71 percent of Sri Lanka’s food imports. So, it’s critical for food security. They’ve banned Glyphosate on the island. They haven’t replaced it with any herbicides.
So, what does that mean? It means their land is less productive and they’re actually having to chop down more jungle so they can have equal amounts of production. It also means that the jungle is moving in to their tea plantations. With that comes things like snakes and the incidence of snake bite has gone up in Sri Lanka.
The take away about crop protection is that it is critical for food security. We’ve never had such great access to healthy, good food as we do today. It is important that the rest of the world has access to those technologies as well.