Can GM foods help to feed the world?
GM technology is often mentioned as a key element in the race to produce enough food to feed the world.
- The Earth’s population of 6 billion, is set to grow to 8 billion people by 2020.
- It is argued that the extra food needed must be grown without increasing the proportion of land used for farming in order to protect biodiversity.
- Worldwide, 1/3 of current food crops are lost to disease and pests.
- GM crops could help reduce crop losses and increase food production without the need for additional farmland. They could also improve the farming productivity of otherwise inhospitable environments.
Opponents of GM argue that hunger is not primarily caused by inefficient farming methods, but by political circumstances, poverty and unfair trading practices. See this Oxfam guide
At the same time, the biotech industry stands accused of giving with one hand and taking with the other through the patenting of genes, genetic techniques and GM crops. If GM crops become widespread across the world, GM opponents fear that private companies in rich countries may have too much control over the food supplies of poor nations.
Are GM crops a practical solution to an impossible problem, or do they allow rich countries to avoid facing difficult political issues?
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