Farming of the future – From “green genetic engineering” to vertical farms | DW Documentary
Currently, enough food is produced worldwide to feed everyone alive. But what if, by the end of this century, more than 10 billion people inhabit the earth?
Agriculture as we know it today is highly efficient. It feeds more people than at any time in history. But there is a catch: Food may fill our supermarkets, but it is pushing our planet to its limits. Soil fertility and biodiversity are declining in many places, and the burden on the environment from fertilizers and pesticides is increasing. In this context, the massive use of chemicals in our fields is comparable to taking antibiotics, says agricultural economist Gerold Rahmann, who adds: “At some point, the damage is so great that it can no longer be repaired.” In addition, climate change is now progressing so quickly that our crops “can no longer keep up,” says agricultural biologist Nicolaus von Wirén.
We’re facing a dilemma. On the one hand, we must help agriculture worldwide cope with climate change. On the other, we need to significantly increase yields without putting an additional burden on the planet. Does the solution lie in controversial “green genetic engineering”? Or should we focus on radical greening to save our soils, instead? Is it even possible to farm without ‘land’ – in huge vertical farms? And what contribution does artificial intelligence make to answering the question of how to feed everyone?
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