18 September 2015. Source ABC PM

MARK COLVIN: A meeting of hundreds of the world’s most eminent experts on grain crops has heard arguments for the likely necessity of genetically modified crops. The consensus among the scientists is that current crop yields are not enough to keep up with global population growth and climate change.

David Claughton reports.

DAVID CLAUGHTON: Global wheat production is 700 million tonnes, but researchers say that needs to reach a billion tonnes to feed the world’s population by 2050.

MAN: Things are getting warmer and drier and inevitably there are going to be new disease problems that occur.

MAN 2: In wheat if there is one degree rise in temperature you can almost expect 10 degrees production in yield.

DAVID CLAUGHTON: Sanjaya Rajaram, winner of the World Food Prize, says GM technology is needed to feed the world into the future. A wheat scientist in India and Mexico, he has bred 480 wheat varieties and is regarded as the world’s greatest wheat breeder. He told the ABC’s Country Hour, conventional hybrid breeding could increase production by 20 to 25 per cent, but that won’t be enough to leave genetic modification out of the mix.