The brilliant Gates knows this full well and is investing heavily in food banks... first he dominates computers, now food :)
His genious knows no end. The only problem I see with food banks is that WE rely on them to preserve diversity, putting all our eggs in the same basket and setting up a system of controlled access to these seeds, controlled by market forces.
When in fact, food genetic diversity has always been on this planet and we should do everything in our power to preserve "natural" diversity instead of focusing our energy on seed banks controlled by a ruling elite.
...The Cavendish is still a cloned cultivar propagated through taking offshoots. This is an extreme example of a more general problem with agriculture – the lack of genetic diversity. Everyone picking the best crops to produce tends to limit diversity, which makes a crop more susceptible to infection and other problems. Genetic diversity is a hedge against extinction – a hedge our agriculture increasingly lacks. But bananas are and extreme example as there is practically no genetic diversity...
Attempts to control these infections with traditional means – by fighting the infections themselves – are failing. Attempts to use traditional breeding and cultivation techniques to develop a resistant cultivar have been sporadic and have failed to yield any results. The situation is actually quite dire.
But there is potential good news for East African banana farmers – researchers have managed to insert genes from the green pepper that convey resistance to BXW into a banana cultivar. Field testing still needs to be done, and if all goes well it will likely be years before local farmers benefit from the new GM varieties of banana, but this is good news for banana growers everywhere, and the millions who depend upon bananas for food.
Genetic engineering appears to be the only technology that will work quickly enough to develop resistant cultivars of banana before they are wiped out by infection. Dan Koeppel, author of Banana, believes it is our only hope of saving this important crop...
I think a big problem for some with GM food is that they don't quite grasp that evolution isn't going to pick up the pace for us. In history when the amount of food that could be found or raise couldn't sustain the population that was just too fucking bad. One either starved or murdered for what one needed.
I find it disgusting when certain advocacy groups try to convince farmers in developing countries and agricultural economies to use techniques that, simply put, grow less food. It's very easy to ask others to live with less when we have so much.
I can't imagine what goes through the heads of the critics of men like Norman Borlaug, a man who has saved more lives than I can even comprehend. He took science and put it to the best imaginable use.
The bottom line is that evolution doesn't give a shit about the organisms playing its game. Evolution doesn't tell us the rules and even if you win you still die. Then here come the scientists who are looking up the rules and finding the cheat codes to give us a better crack at life. Then here come the nutters who are accidentally better off in the game telling people who are worse off to make do with less -- because it's better.