Más cultivo por gota

STANFORD – Las Naciones Unidas han calificado a la sequía como "el desastre natural más costoso del mundo", tanto financieramente, al imponer un costo anual de 6.000-8.000 millones de dólares, como en términos humanos; desde 1900, ha afectado a dos mil millones de personas y causado más de 11 millones de muertes. Eso es porque una gran parte del mundo es vulnerable; las zonas actualmente afectadas incluyen a Australia, el África subsahariana, el sur de Asia, Norteamérica y Sudamérica, y Oriente Medio.

Si consideramos que la agricultura representa el 70% del consumo de agua, en promedio, en todo el mundo, parece lógico que este sector sea el foco de las medidas de conservación. Y, por cierto, existe una tecnología probada que puede hacer mucho en materia de reducir el impacto de la sequía: la ingeniería genética (IG).

A veces llamada "modificación genética", la IG les permite a los productores lograr que las plantas de cultivo existentes hagan cosas nuevas -como conservar agua-. A pesar de que la investigación y el desarrollo se vieron obstaculizados por la resistencia de los activistas y una excesiva regulación gubernamental, de la lista de proyectos en desarrollo están surgiendo variedades de cultivos de IG resistentes a la sequía en muchas partes del mundo.

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