Author: Denis J Murphy

Has agricultural biotechnology finally turned a corner?

Ivar Virgin,
Denis J Murphy
Policy proposals Governments, NGOs and other civil society representatives should engage in a comprehensive public debate on how advances in agbiotech, can benefit smallholders in developing countries by producing more sustainable food systems and improving nutrition in view of changing climate and resource scarcity. In particular genome editing in crop and livestock improvement should be accommodated.  Governments across the world should urgently address the issue of how …


What is the future for oil palm as a global crop?

Denis J Murphy
Summary The African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis, is the major global vegetable oil crop. Palm oil is consumed daily by over two billion people and can be found in about half of all products on sale in a typical supermarket. Increased demand for palm oil, particularly in Asia and Europe, has led to extensive conversion of tropical habitats into plantations. In some parts of Southeast Asia, this has had adverse ecological and environmental consequences that have led to calls for …


Targeting good agricultural advice to where it is really needed

Denis J Murphy
One of the most serious problems facing agriculture today is to ensure that adequate nutrition is provided to people around the world. In many developing countries, this difficulty is compounded by factors such as rising populations, environmental degradation, resource depletion, climatic variability, and by increasing volatility in the prices of food and many essential agricultural inputs. After a brief respite in the late 20th century, the number of people experiencing the kind of …


The complexities of global fertilizer use

Denis J Murphy
Most people, including many scientists, seem to believe that worldwide consumption of fertilizers is continually increasing in an unsustainable and environmentally damaging way. This view is particularly prevalent at the present time with farmers striving to increase crop yields to feed expanding world populations. Because the availability of the key nutrients, nitrogen, phosphate and potassium (NPK), is often rate limiting for plant growth, it seems obvious that the steady increase …