Can GM crops feed and save the world?
GM crops and the great debate has been around for 10 years and are people any closer to working out whether they are good for us, the planet or whether they are a necessary evil to feed the world?
When you think of cities with burgeoning populations and a world population now topping 6 billion, rainfall does not increase to meet these increases and scare resources are stretched even further.
With no additional water for crops, better use of existing water is an obvious way forward but what about in areas that are becoming drier and more arid?
As the world population is due to increase to 8 billion within 20 years, the global demand for food and energy will jump by 50% especially as we become more affluent and buy more meat which requires both more water and grain. All this will lead to an increase in the demand for fresh water by 30 percent.
Countries around the world such as Israel and China are now creating super dams to deal with the issue of lack of water to the detriment of countries that the water feeds into further down the line.
So with less water or too much water at certain times of year can GM crops help to feed this never ending expanding population? GM crops can be engineered to survive and prosper with less or more water but the debate remains on whether it is morally right or indeed safe to alter the genes of the food to make it more adaptable to current climate conditions.
Many countries, charities and indeed people say that genetically modified food is wrong and refuse to eat this or allow it to be imported or grown in the countries in question but we end up in the future with having to use GM crops as way of feeding the masses?
Africa has a low population density and is now being used by China and Gulf Countries especially to grow crops for export to there respective countries. Is it right for these countries to be doing this when many African countries cannot feed themselves?
Could GM crops lead to more efficient and cost effective growing of crops in Africa? One problem that has been highlighted is that GM crops are more expensive to buy and that farmers are often locked into contracts to buy fertilisers and next years seeds instead of traditional farming where the seeds from one year are used for the next. These additional costs have led to farmers in India committing suicide as a result of increasing debt and despair.
As with most things in life there is the upside and the downside and maybe proper and rigorous testing is needed before an informed decision can be made on whether to promote GM crops as the food of future. I cant understand why countries suffering from famine have refused GM wheat imports in the past as aid, im sure the politicians that refused this food from entering the country are not starving, it’s the masses in the rural areas and im sure they would have preferred the choice on whether to eat this or not.
The GM crops argument is now becoming like the organic Vs non organic argument. There is no definitive scientific proof either way…it just comes down to choice.
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Davinos Greeno works for the green and eco business community site http://www.guidemegreen.com You can also read further interesting articles at http://www.guidemegreen.com/articles/