Genetic engineering is a topic that is constantly talked about in the farming and agricultural industry, based on the fact that there is so much controversy surrounding genetically modified crops. Like many issues that are heavily debated, there are two sides to the fence when it comes to GMOs. Opponents of the use of GMOs in our food believe that there are inherent risks to ingesting food that has been genetically modified. On the other hand, there are a lot of benefits that come with producing genetically modified food, primarily on the side of those that are producing the crops, as it is much easier and more predictable to tend to crops that have been genetically engineered. A great deal of guess factor is removed from the process when genetic factors have been modified, which is why it is so attractive to producers of various crops.
While it may provide a great advantage and be desirable to companies that would like to produce their food more efficiently and effectively, there are also a huge amount of regulations that come with producing genetically engineered crops. Over the last few months there’s been quite a bit of talk of draining the swamp, and this has been directly applicable to the discussion over genetic engineering. Many people are now calling to drain the swamp when it comes to erasing in eliminating laws that prevent genetic engineering, based mostly on the fact that it cost so much money to get over all the hurdles that come with working with genetically modified foods. Proponents for genetically modified food would like to see regulations dropped, which they feel would then put them in a great position to make more money and give a great boost to the agricultural industry. While it has been documented around the globe that genetically modified foods are for the most part completely safe for consumption, there’s no denying the fact that there is likely going to be a rocky road ahead when it comes to altering regulations that currently stand. As is with many industries, many of the bigger producers of crops are able to still get by with such regulations, while smaller producers are finding that the hurdles too great and are closing down their operations.
Debate on the merits and demerits of genetically modified crops (GMO) continues to rage as both sides of the divide smack at each other. According to a New York Times article published on October 10, the controversy surrounding GMO crops goes further than the not-backed-up fear that the crops are unsafe to eat. The author, Danny Hakim reckons that the real problem lies in the findings showing genetically modified crops have not increased crop yields in the US and Canada or led to the reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. The author adds that the use of herbicides in the US has increased substantially and even permeated to so called modified crop varieties such as cotton, soya beans and corn.
According to the author, the very promise to grow GMO’s was built on the premise that it would create pest and weed resistant crops that would produce abundant yields and ease world hunger. Danny acknowledges that while US and Canada quick to embrace GMO, Europe largely rejected the idea when it was introduced some 20 years ago. This fact demonstrates serious loopholes in technology in spite of years of research and trials. A report released by the UN has also not shown any significant food per acre yields in the US or Canada when pit against Europe. These findings are backed by a new report released by the National Academy of Sciences showing little evidence that US crop yields had increased compared to that of traditional food crops.
The New York Times article has elicited an equal measure of rebuttal from farmers, research organizations and other interest groups. According to a report published on Genetic Literacy Project website by Professor Stuart Smyth of the University of Saskatchewan department of agriculture, GMO food crops have numerous benefits which the NYT article has failed to point out. These insurmountable benefits to the environment, including a 35% reduction in pesticide use as well as soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions and use of fossil fuels. Professor Stuart also painted a different picture showing the dangers of not embracing the technology. He cites India, where cotton farmers have lost up to 60% of their yields as a result of insect infestation while those who grow GM cotton have seen 40% reduction in pesticide use.