Support Biotechnology in BC's Agricultural and Silvicultural Industries

One of the Green platform planks is increasing BC agriculture's resilience in the face of climate change and ability to provide for BC's own consumption, including a target of 30% increase in productivity over 2001 levels. With BC already being a leader in technological industries and biological research, we are well-positioned to make use of biotechnology to help improve BC's agricultural resilience, yields, and diversity. For example, a UBC team working with professor Joerg Bohlmann has conducted research into using genetic engineering to combat BC's devastating Mountain Pine Beetle; and a local small business called Okanagan Specialty Fruits has developed a non-browning apple intended to reduce food waste. Elsewhere in the world, crops are being developed to resist the effects of climate change, by developing traits such as drought tolerance (for example, at the University of California San Diego) or resistance to insect pests whose range increases to grow with rising temperatures. Certain kinds of biotechnology-assisted pest control can also reduce the need for soil tillage, which promotes erosion and water runoff and impedes the growth of helpful organisms like earthworms and mycorrhizal fungi. The Greens should support the research, development, and deployment of agricultural biotechnology to improve BC's ability to provide stable supplies of natural resources to its growing population in the face of a changing climate.

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