Source: Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)
21 June 2012 | EN
GM crops could help boost yields, but using them comes with challenges
Flickr/BASF – The Chemical Company
This policy brief, published by the UK's Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), examines the potential benefits and challenges of using genetically modified (GM) crops for agricultural development in the developing world, and highlights policy approaches that could support a positive contribution to food security.
With the majority of the workforce in developing countries involved in agriculture, strengthening this sector could go a long way to meeting future food needs. Genetic modification could play an important part in this, says the brief, by improving crop resistance to pests, herbicides, and extreme climatic or environmental conditions. But there is concern over potential risks to the environment and health.
GM crops are only currently grown in a handful of developing nations. A major challenge is building trust in regulation and confidence in the safety of GM crops. This can be achieved through engaging stakeholders and adopting a precautionary approach to avoid overly simplistic assessments of risk.
Regulatory frameworks should consider trade issues, says the brief. The ability of, for example, African countries to adopt GM crops is in part dependent on whether they can export to European markets, where GM is often not tolerated. Import policies contend with different obstacles, such as keeping GM and regular crops separate in storage and supply chains.
Although private funding for GM research is substantial, subsistence crops grown by farmers in poor countries have limited commercial opportunities. Developing new crops suited to developing countries will require public sector funding, as well as fostering research collaborations and private-public partnerships.
Smallholders have been slow to adopt GM crops despite their potential to improve yields. This brief stresses the need for access to unbiased information, and for allowing farmers to save GM seed to replant in subsequent years. Saved seed is a major resource for smallholders, but many commercial GM varieties must be bought afresh each year.
The potential risks of GM and the diversity of agricultural systems in the developing world mean that technical, ecological, economic and social assessments must be carried out before adopting any GM crop.
The brief concludes that GM is only one dimension of agricultural development — successful in specific cases against specific problems. It stresses that GM crops must be used in conjunction with other agricultural development strategies such as increasing access to irrigation and enhancing soil quality.
This policy brief was written by Chandrika Nath, Deputy Head of Physical Sciences & ICT and Science and the Developing World, and Jonathan Wentworth, Scientific Advisor on Environment and Energy, at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, London, UK.
MH ( Switzerland )
26 June 2012
GMOs is the worst idea ever for small farmers and biodiversity, leading to dependence for a majority and to increased profits for the happy few, and making the land races disappear. Reducing waste along the food chain would be a much more valuable contribution to food security.
Acevoice ( United Kingdom )
2 July 2012
Ziviz ( United States of America )
9 August 2012
If we continue pushing GMO crops, we are risking the world's food supply. There is not enough evidence or knowledge about them to take the risk. Companies lie on a regular basis to maximize profits.
Pedro Pompeyo Osores Morante ( Fundo En Capilla | Peru )
14 August 2012
How much they pay for that incredible afirmations all are lies and look like salesmen of transgenics. They dont know or dont want to know the mutations maked transgenics in environment and damages in public health since 2005
rigas ( China (including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) )
6 November 2012
The main argument in favour of GMO crops is "Although private funding for GM research is substantial, subsistence crops grown by farmers in poor countries have limited commercial opportunities." AND IT IS PLAINLY FALSE !
That is just the view of the companies that want farmers to be their clients. GMO are probably as dangerous as could one believe and even worse. The crap Monsanto is saying is not science either. Diffusing GMOs wil produce more poverty. Brazil did not become more equitative because of GMO crops.
We need a serious re-evaluation of the so-called "benefits" of the Green Revolution. Is it not this "success" that creates today's problems?
Arthur Makara ( Uganda )
14 January 2013
Please note that this Policy Brief comes from United Kingdom Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Because it is UK where it is purported that GMOs have been resited, doesn't make the UK Parliamentary S&T lie to the Parliamentarians about the proven scientific potential benefits of biotechnology and GMOs, because the voices from the public say so. All scientific facts point to the direction that GM technology is good science and can complement existing scientific knowledge, in finding solutions to today's and future food and medical needs of humanity.
Murthy ( The crops Foundation Trust | India )
22 April 2013
The GMO with the 'synthetic Gene'is a dangerous tech and will not provide food security.On the other hand besides eliminating the land races interfering with the biodiversity may eliminate 'Health Security'.The land races has given the best yield in number of niches.They are good against floods and salt,and also in nutritive value with no new biochemicals.A countable is happy for time being but in long run they feel very bad of this technology.
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