The Pros And Cons Of GM Crops

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Introduction
The arguments in favour or against GM crops because of their implications for smallholder farmers in the Global South are numerous and conflicting. While advocates of biotechnology claim that GM crops are necessary for the alleviation of poverty and the eradication of food insecurity, sceptics declare that the lack of adaptation to smallholder needs and the failure to consider the various contexts in which GM crops are actually introduced, are actually threatening the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable. This paper will look at the different opinions expressed on both sides of the GM debate and attempt to explain why making an informed decision about whether GM crops are good or bad for the livelihoods of rural smallholders
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Although very vague and subsequently inconclusive, it is important to make note of the arguments on both sides of the debate in order to accentuate their flaws and explain why more objective research is needed about the impacts of GM crops in the Global South. “Proponents of ‘biotechnology for the poor’” (Jansen and Gupta, 2009, p.436) mostly claim that GM crops are critical for alleviating poverty, improving food security and enhancing nutrition. They use the metaphor of the onrushing future to further emphasize their point. In their view, if the poor don’t adopt GM crops, the future will be laden with disasters, lower agricultural productivity and an augmentation in inequality, hunger and poverty (Jansen and Gupta, 2009). According to Huang et al (2012), the world is facing severe food shortages and improving the quality of life of the poor is only possible when there is cheap and abundant food available. Since GM crops increase yields substantially (Jacobson and Myhr, 2012, Pinstrup-Andersen and Cohen, 2000, Gonsalves et al, 2007, Monsanto, 2010, Herrera-Estrella, 1999), their introduction can only be beneficial. GM crops are additionally speculated to considerably reduce the overall expenditure of farmers because of their herbicide- and insecticide-tolerant traits. Herrera-Estrella (1999) determined that the use of GM crops leads to …show more content…
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2004), billions of people in the world suffer from micronutrient deficiencies and biotechnology could possibly provide a cost-effective remedy to this problem through vitamin A and iron-rich crops (Pinstrup-Andersen and Cohen, 2000). The ‘Golden Rice Programme’ is frequently used as an example of this because it allowed poor people to afford a conventional source of vitamin A that was also cheaper than fortification or supplementation (Lipton, 2007). In countries like Uganda where 54% of children are vitamin A deficient (Anon, 2003), GM crops could be existential in lowering the related health risks such as greater vulnerability to infections and diseases, mental and physical impairment, blindness and premature death (González et al, 2009). Taking all these arguments into account, genetic modification seems to be the answer to ‘solving’ poverty in the Global South. An increase in the availability of micronutrient-dense food would automatically mean that the poor would be in much better heath and would be able to sell more food products and thus, raise their income. A decrease in the use of herbicides and insecticides would lead to incredible savings, a better environment and presumably better health as well. Monsanto’s statement that their GM products also cause better incomes

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