Back in the early 19th century, there was a growing pessimism on the possibility of feeding the ever-growing populations. By the mid 1960’s, the global crisis on hunger and malnutrition were widespread and greatly affected Asian region which depends mostly on food aid from rich countries. The problem becomes worse when back-to-back droughts affected India at that time. As a response to the worsening crisis, the ‘Green Revolution’ as coined by William Gaud (1968) to a series of research and development, and technology transfer initiatives was initiated. As a result, the world overcomes the food crisis by increasing the food production yield to cope with the growing human population. However, even though we managed to overcome the food shortage, population bloom which is the main problem causing the crisis never stopped. Today, the impact of increasing global temperature together with the increasing human population might leads to an even bigger global crisis in the future.
Chart 2: Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index (Source: NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)).
In order to prevent another potential food crisis problem in the future, the world requires food crops that can thrive in the rising heat and also capable of giving a good yield to guarantee food supply for the increasing world population. Recently, a group of scientist from University California Riverside has successfully developed genetically modified tomato that can survive drought condition. The mechanism involves are simply by controlling the plant water usage using agrochemicals. As an agricultural based country, Malaysia is well equipped with tropical and humid climate, which can provide good condition for plant growth. However, according to the scientific report by Malaysian Meteorological Department (2009), the trend of temperature increase in Malaysia shows no sign of declining for at least until the year 2099. This factor will definitely affects the future of agricultural productivity of the country. Thus, making used of technology which can help plants to adapt to the new hotter climate will be beneficial for the country as a whole. Though there is no denial that many researches have been conducted in Malaysia to improve agricultural productivity in order to cope with current climate change as well as to fulfill the population demand, it is always wise to have more than one approach to face the new world as the nature itself is unpredictable.