According to Mit.edu (Para 1), man has modified the nature of agricultural organisms for thousands of years. However, the growth in technology has driven this to a higher level where man has derived ways of using the recombinant DNA technology. This technology allows scientists to genetically engineer the genetic composition of an organism by inserting DNAs into the genomes of organisms, especially plants. This leads to the creation of new species which have the desired traits. Of course, there are both the positive and negative effects of this technology and each has won a good share of supporters. The proponents of the technology argue that it reduces the rates of pesticide use, saves on the usage of land and provides an avenue for ensuring food security. On the other hands, the opponents claim that the GMOs, otherwise known as the transgenic organisms (Mit.edu Para 2) have serious negative effects on the environment as well as the other living organisms. As such, they advocate for the use of organic foods. The arguments presented by both sides are valid and are proven by scientific evidence. This sparks a serious debate as to whether the transgenic organisms should be accepted or not. This essay takes the position that the GMOs are beneficial mainly due to three reasons; they produce high yields, they are environmentally friendly and they increase the food supply for the ever growing population. Well, these points can be seen as controversial. It is for this reason that the paragraphs below are dedicated to explaining each of these points in detail and giving evidence.
The first argument is that the GMOs produce high yields. Alhassan (Para 16) asserts this point by observing that some of the benefits of GMOs are “high yield, drought resistant, and herbicide tolerant, reduced farm cost and reduced health hazard due to non use of pesticides and increased shelf-life.” Well, a few things about yield increase can be picked from this statement. First of all, there is the obvious fact that through genetic modification, the crops can be tailored such that they have a trait that allows them to produce higher yields. This is a direct way through which the technology increases the yield. However, there are other indirect ways through which the yield is increased as well. First of all, it is noted that the crops become drought resistant. It is well known that in case of draught, the productivity of the crops is greatly reduced as they do not have the optimal conditions that allow them to yield as required. However, if these crops are engineered to make sure that they are not affected by the draught, then it goes without saying that this would directly impact on the yield of the crops. Other factors noted by Alhassan (Par 16) also prove this fact. For instance, there is the fact that these crops need less in terms of inputs such as fertilizers and labor. By reducing the cost of farming, more people, including the poor would be in a position to practice farming at an even larger scale. The overall effect is that there would be an increase in the overall yield. This asserts the fact that use of biotechnologically engineered food crops can be one of the ways explored in increasing productivity per unit of land and also per household.
One of the areas in which the GMOs have faced the greatest challenge is in terms of environmental compatibility. Organizations such as Brandi (Para 5) argue that the GMOs are very unsafe to the environment since they cannot be removed from the environment. In other words, the products are said to be non-biodegradable. Others argue against the use of the crops since they claim that they are a threat to wildlife. Such an example is given where Bt corn is engineered to resist the Monarch caterpillars. The caterpillars feeding on such corn end up dying or having a retarded growth. The opponents of GMOs use this just as one of the examples to prove that this technology is harmful to other organisms (Ackerman Para 10). However, Ackerman goes on to refute this claim by observing that use of the technology actually saves more wildlife than it supposedly affects negatively (Para 9). To assert his point, he argues that the use of transgenic crops reduces usage of pesticides and herbicides during the production process. The advantage in this is that when such chemicals are used in the production processes, their residue remains in the soil. When the rains come, these chemical residues are swept into the main water bodies including rivers, seas and oceans. It is well known that water sustains life and every living thing has to have water to survive. As such, when these chemicals are swept into the rivers and other water catchment areas, the animals drink them up directly. In the long run, the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides in the production process ends up harming more animals than the transgenic crops. It is for this reason that this essay argues that GMOs are actually environmental friendly. Looking at the bigger picture brings this very clearly as indicated above.
The last area in which the issue of GMOs will be discussed is on the point that these crops help in increasing food supply for the growing populations. Alhassan (Para 1) notes that the hardship areas of the world often have to deal with food shortage issues. Their land hardly produces anything that can ensure their food security. On the other hand, the organic foods are very costly and even if they are affordable, most of them have a short shelf life and therefore cannot satisfy the food needs for these people. Rather than have these people go hungry, the recombinant DNA technology can be used to ensure that they are food secure. This can come in different ways. For instance, the crops can be engineered so that they are draught resistant and produce more yields. This can make the people food secure. The crops can also be modified such that they are of a higher nutritional value such as having vitamin A in rice. This can help to curb the deficiencies observed in this area. As a matter of fact, Alhassan (Para 17) posits that the use of the technology can help in cutting the poverty levels in the world by almost half. The argument is that the development of drought tolerant maize in 2012, the introduction of golden rice in 2013 and the development of Bt rice are some of the benchmarks of the Millennium Development Goals of 2015, and it is expected to improve the livelihoods of over one billion poor people. Looking at the above account, it cannot be denied that the use of GMOs is actually one of the avenues to pursue towards the global food security.
Ackerman, Jennifer. “Food: How Altered.” National Geographic, 2012. Web, 22nd Oct. 2012, http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/food-how-altered/
Alhassan. “Biotechnology Crucial to Global Food Security.” Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, April 4, 2012. Web, 22nd Oct. 2012, http://www.ofabafrica.org/news_article.php?id=71
Brandi. “Are GMOs an Eco-Friendly Choice?” Ecoki Organization, Aug. 25, 2010. Web, 22nd Oct. 2012, http://ecoki.com/are-gmos-an-eco-friendly-choice/
Mit.edu. “Mission 2014: Feeding the World – Genetically Modified Crops.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2012. Web, 22nd Oct. 2012, http://12.000.scripts.mit.edu/mission2014/genetically-modified-crops