In Support of GMO

Of course, not everyone is against GMO. There are supporters of genetic modification who point out what they regard as the long-term benefits such as food security. Here are some articles defending GM foods, arguing that they are safe, and a link to a BBC documentary on the issue:

http://english.pravda.ru/science/earth/20-09-2011/119092-genetically_modified-0/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/can-gm-food-save-the-world/

You can view the BBC documentary, narrated by farmer Jimmy Doherty, here:

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5 Comments

  1. Nadine

     /  19/02/2012

    What bothers me about his video is that it starts off on the assumption that there is a food shortage. I don’t believe that is true. The problem now is not food shortage but food distribution. Our goal now should not be to produce more food, but to reduce wastage. Even if there were food shortage, GM seeds will not alleviate starvation as long as poverty, greed, and water crisis persist. Third world people will still go hungry if the crops grown end up being exported to meet the costs of Monsanto’s unfair contract terms. The fact that GM seeds lower costs for American farmers will only force third world farmers to push their prices even lower, causing them to sink even deeper into poverty. Finally, nothing can grow without an adequate, predictable, and steady source of clean water.

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  2. Stephanie

     /  20/02/2012

    I fully agree with your statement, and would broaden it to encompass all of the “Top Ten Emerging Technologies” that are listed in the post above. It’s probably not controversial to say that GM crops can do a lot of good, if monitored properly and used in a sustainable manner in helping feed the ever-expanding population. Likewise, the emerging technologies have the ability to do an unimaginable amount of good for the world’s impoverished. But how do we ensure distributive justice? Where will the new technologies be implemented? With the emerging technologies, which are not owned by nations but more often by corporations, who has the ability and/or responsibility to ensure this justice takes place? Freddie raises this point in his comment on the above post, regarding R2P. Interested to hear ideas for potential ways to ensure such amazing technological breakthroughs can be used to their greatest potential for the greatest good (i.e. unlike the current Monsanto situation).

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  3. People who support GMO have three major arguments. They think that genetic modification of seeds can help to increase crop yield to combat global food crisis, make farming more sustainable due to decreased use of pesticide and herbicide as well as produce more nutritious food to improve the health conditions of people around the world.

    However, GM food seems to fail to bring the above benefits. From the fourth video of the blog post “What is GMO?”, it is shown that GM seeds may not be able to produce good results in some terrains. Also, some GM plants are produced to be resistant to herbicide, then more herbicide is used to kill weeds without the worry that the crop is affected. This is definitely not a sustainable way of farming.

    In fact, GM food should not be promoted for two reasons. Firstly, it has unknown health impacts on human. GMO has been developed and consumed for less than 20 years. Although supporters of GMO say that there has been no adverse effect caused by GM food, we have to note that GM food may have cumulative effects on human. This means that GM food may lead to health problems through consumption over several generations. Therefore, the potential health impacts may not be able to be revealed in the last 20 years, which is a relatively short period of time. We should not take the risk to consume GM food, especially when the safety issue concerns food, which is a daily necessity of human and can have a huge impact on the whole race. Once GM food enters the food chain of human, it will be very difficult to reverse the condition if the food is really unsafe to eat.

    In addition, GMO may have negative impacts on the environment. GM plants are designed to be better at adapting to the environment. For example, BT plants are pest-resistant while traditional plants are not. When these new strains of plants are introduced to the field and spread from the farmland to the natural environment through pollen flow, they will be able to survive more easily than the traditional plants, which will then be replaced. This will lead to lower biodiversity of the environment. Besides, in the case of BT plants, the pests which originally feed on the plants will not be able to find food and they will die. This will destroy the food web of the related organisms and cause imbalance of the ecosystem.

    To summarize, the potential impacts of GM food on health and the environment should be fully assessed before the food is widely consumed.

    Reply
  4. Pernilla

     /  22/02/2012

    The current global food economy is full of contradictions it seems. There are rising levels of obesity in certain developed nations and mountains of food waste each year contrasted with widespread hunger and malnutrition. The fact that the documentary assumed that we do not have enough food also bothered me. It is seems it is the way in which the Global Food Economy has been structured that has led to inequality of food availability, exhibited by the contradictory effects.Time and time again the GMO-industry has shown that when put in the context of the global food economy it is not a responsible one and can even be detrimental for farmers. I therefore also found it interesting that the documentary made Argentina out to be a GM success story, when I have read several articles which argues that the soy economy, which has become such an integral part of Argentina’s agriculture, is only benefitting the few and has lead to several land conflicts.

    http://www.mo.be/en/article/15-years-gm-soybeans-argentina

    Another thought which La Via Campesina and GRAIN strongly advocate is that one should not be able to patent nature (protect the seeds) and sell it commercially. Which then leads to the seed companies such as Monsanto to argue that they are changing the nature of nature and therefore it is valid. This comes down to the fundamental ethics as to how we treat and value nature.

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  5. Winnie Tsang Wing Ying

     /  22/02/2012

    What stroked me in the video is that the original intention of scientists working on the technology is to solve food shortage problem in developing countries and bring good impacts to citizens. They are passionate in what they are doing and improving our well-being. However, the manipulation of the technology by Monsanto and its malpractices goes entirely against scientists’ will.
    The marketing strategies is completely profit- oriented and without considering practicality. The technology is not flawless at the present stage but Monsanto has presented it as a magical tool to farmers hiding all the flaws. They genetically modified the seed to be use one-time only (Terminator gene) and raised the seed price. They give false guarantee on the boosted crop yield. Farmers are only allowed to purchased more expensive Monsanto’s herbicide, insecticide and fertilizer and will be sued aggressively of keeping the seeds and replant it. Illiterate farmers follow the ads like a dog following bread. Once the crop yield turns unexpectedly low due to the flawed technology itself, farmers becomes bankrupt and resort to lending money illegally. Monsanto’s monopoly and exploitation has pushed debt-ridden farmer to death.
    I believe not every innovation and new technology is flawless. No matter how all-round the scientific research is, there must be more and more side effects emerge when it is put into real practice. Technology itself is not a sin. It is how the technology introduced to the market matters. If we think out of the box, can genetic modification done without encouraging the use of herbicide? Because this overuse herbicide fashion of planting is obviously damaging soil and water which adversely affects non-BT seed farmers. The growing resistance to herbicide is made ignored by the company.
    Any technology put into practice should be subject to scrutiny and the projects should be ceased or modified when problems are discovered. New technology becomes more and beneficial to human under continuous improvement. What lead to my anguish is that under the monopoly of Monsanto, problems are forbidden to be discovered. FDA is adopting “no testing policy”. Customers and farmers are clueless about safety of GMO. Monsanto is required to submit self-authored report on new products. Labeling GMO was made illegal. This restricting of research on seeds is unquestionably unfair to customers and users and do no good to the advancement of the technology.

    Reply

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