Genetically Modified Foods: The Answer To World Hunger

1622 words - 6 pages

Genetically Modified Foods: The Answer to World Hunger

Genetically modified (GM) foods have become omnipresent over the past decade. They are a technological breakthrough that allows humans to manipulate and add foreign genes to crops to enhance desired traits, but they have also evolved into a controversial issue, especially for Third World countries. Some people believe that GM foods not only provide larger yields to feed hungry citizens in Third World countries, but they can also be a source of great nutritional value. For example, researchers have developed a strain of golden rice containing high amounts of vitamin A and numerous other vitamins and minerals. Additionally, GM crops are laced with herbicides and pesticides, and therefore reduce the need for chemical consumption. Opponents of GM foods claim that they pose a threat to the health of consumers and that these crops could eventually cross-pollinate in an unregulated fashion or lead to the growth of superweeds and superbugs resistant to the herbicides and pesticides woven into the genetic fiber of the crops. Developed nations should promote research and monitoring from an ethical point of view and financial assistance through philanthropic ventures in order to limit environmental and health risks. They should also make sure that limited cultural displacement will result from the introduction of GM crops and that instead, a better livelihood and well-being through collaboration will emerge. Hence, GM crops should be introduced only provided that the developed nations assume the ethical and financial responsibilities for the environmental, health, and social consequences that attend this new innovation.

Genetically modified foods are a necessity for developing countries that are seeing more and more citizens suffering from illnesses, starvation, and economic recession. The Royal Society of London asserts that "dramatic advances are required in food production, distribution and access [to] address the needs [of developing nations]" (157). Poverty in Third World nations has never been as high as it is today. Developed nations are the only source for aid to Third World countries that lack financial resources, research opportunities, and economic advantages. For instance, Third World countries, such as India, face starvation and malnutrition, weak legal and political accountability, and tremendous financial hardship. The establishment of GM foods in these counties will improve their situation in many ways. Benefits of GM crops include: increased yields, shelf-life, quality, nutritive value, and pharmaceutical benefits such as vaccines; elimination of pesticides and other chemical usage; less tillage; and less land required to cultivate, which means that more biodiversity is preserved. Additionally, in the long run, GM foods are less expensive to grow than non-transgenic crops. Clearly, the use of GM foods brings tremendous benefits to humans and to the environment...

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