It’s an important question.
The answer you’ll hear most often is that agriculture needs to produce more food because the world’s population is growing. That’s certainly true, and Monsanto—along with many other companies, governments and organisations—has been working to develop seeds and other systems that help farmers grow more.
What we believe
At Monsanto, we believe agriculture should be improved for the same basic reasons that medicine, engineering, architecture and computers should be improved: because human innovation is at the center of human progress.
Another part of the story
The world doesn’t just need more food, it also needs better food that’s more nutritious. And it needs to find ways to make the process of growing food more efficient and aligned with our environmental needs, so farmers use less water and land, and better utilise things like fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides.
A growing debate
Right now, there is a big debate over how agriculture should work, and we understand why. Agriculture affects all of us, directly and indirectly. It affects us directly through the food we eat and it affects us indirectly through its relationship to the environment, the use of natural resources and the global economy. Even though farmers grow a lot more than food (such as cotton for clothes and corn and grass for fuel), we think it’s a good thing consumers are increasingly interested in understanding where their food comes from. It’s the first step to understanding how agricultural systems work, and what’s at stake.
Some people believe the correct answer to our challenges is to move backwards in time toward an agricultural system that relies less on human innovations and more on human labor. While we respect that opinion, we don’t share it. Agriculture has benefited from technology and the people who grow our food have sought new ways to improve their own lives—and ours—by producing more with less.
In this section
Throughout this section you’ll learn about the history of agriculture, including the role technology has played for thousands of years. You’ll also learn about the crucial challenges agriculture faces in the next several decades, the debates about how to solve them, and how farmers rely on agricultural improvements to earn a living.