Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GM Crop Debate - What About Feeding the World?

There are lots of question marks when it comes to the science of seeds, that is to say the genetic manipulation of crops. The reality is this science is still in its infancy, although I dare say it's come along a lot further than most of the detractors realize or give it credit for. Those who criticize GM crops have a bit of science on their side as well. Still, I ask if we can increase crop yields by 20-50% using GM seeds in the future using less water and fertilizer, we are going to need to do this, simply to feed the world.

Okay so, there are people starving in many parts of the world, and if GM crops can fix this problem, shouldn't we be morally responsible for using this science in that regard? Matt Ridley in his weekly Wall Street Journal Column on December 10, 2011, he had an interesting article; "Why Deny BioTech to a Hungry Africa," which noted that;

"More than 15-million farmers now plant GM crops on almost 370-million acres, boosting yields by 10% to 25%. Despite opponents' fears that the technology would poison people, spread superweeds and entrench corporate monopolies, it's now c clear that the new crops have reduced not only hunger but pesticide use, carbon emissions, collateral damage to biodiversity and rain-forest destruction."

Now then, not long ago, I was discussing all this with an acquaintance, he specializes in Urban Farming strategies, soil conditioning, and re-use of storm and rain water. He's able to increase the yields using his strategies by quite a bit more than the GM crops have yet to accomplish. Well, that's nice, but what if we doubled up? Used his strategies plus GM Seeds, then we'd get 50% plus the 10-25% from the GM crop seeds - that surely sounds like a plan.

Still, even if you look at the massive quantities of food that is produced in the world, under tough conditions such as droughts, heat waves, floods, pestilence, locust plague, run-away crop viruses, and man-made mistakes we do have food shortages, commodity price spikes, and severe distribution channel challenges. Now then, if we are able to over-produce, there might be a few more fat humans here and there but no one will starve.

So, as long as we can prevent creating such problems through unintended consequences using GM crops, we should, but we must simultaneously also continue to use our current standard methods as well. We should not dismiss the value of GM crops, nor should we deny starving people food available through increased production of such strategies. We must be diligent, cautious, and scientifically wise as we move these new innovative concepts forward. Please be thinking here.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net/

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