Davantage de récoltes pour une moindre consommation d’eau

STANFORD – Les Nations Unies ont affirmé considérer les sécheresses comme les « catastrophes naturelles les plus coûteuses de la planète, » et cela à la fois sur le plan financier, pesant chaque année à hauteur de 6 à 8 milliards $, et sur le plan humain ; depuis l’année 1900, les sécheresses ont frappé quelque deux milliards d’individus, coûtant la vie à plus de 11 millions de personnes. C’est la raison pour laquelle notre planète se révèle si vulnérable, les régions les plus affectées comprenant aujourd’hui l’Australie, l’Afrique sub-saharienne, l’Asie du Sud, l’Amérique du Nord et du Sud, ainsi que le Moyen-Orient.

Dans la mesure où l’agriculture représente en moyenne 70% de la consommation d’eau à travers le monde, la logique exigerait que ce secteur s’inscrive au cœur des mesures de préservation. Dans cette perspective, il existe une technologie éprouvée, susceptible d’atténuer considérablement l’impact des sécheresses : l’ingénierie génétique (IG).

Parfois qualifié de mécanisme de « modification génétique, » l’IG permet aux phytogénéticiens de conférer de nouvelles caractéristiques à certaines variétés agricoles – telles que la capacité à retenir davantage l’eau. Bien que la recherche et le développement soient entravés par l’opposition de militants et par l’excès des réglementations gouvernementales, le développement de variétés d’IG résistantes à la sécheresse fait son apparition dans de nombreuses régions du monde.

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