In the recent past, powerful tools and scientific innovations have revolutionized the way agriculture is done. Innovative production and processing have transformed conventional agricultural systems and the world’s capability to generate enough food for its population. Notably, these developments have come with drastic changes in economic forces and social organizations. Our link with nature has been reversed by technological advances, which not only enable human beings to genetically modify organisms but also enhance the organisms’ genes.
Since its inception, genetic engineering has attracted many heated debates. Critics argue that technology has adverse economic, environmental, and health risks. According to the critics, GMOs are to be blamed for the increase in food allergy complications and decreased nutrition in modern society. On the other hand, proponents argue that through technology, the world’s hunger and malnutrition challenges can be addressed. In my opinion, GMOs are a great way to ensure a continuing food supply. I believe that GMO technologies present significant opportunities for agricultural stakeholders. For instance, farmers who have adopted the technology have better weed and pest control measures improving their productivity and lowering the cost of operation. Therefore, the first beneficiary of GMOs is the producer who embraces the technology. The long-term benefits of GMOs would be sustainable agriculture and better food security.
Similarly, I believe that genetically modified plants and animals are better adapted to the environment than conventional ones because they can be genetically altered to suit a particular environment. For example, drought-tolerant crops have been produced to be grown in harsh environments. Through this, agriculture would be made possible in areas previously inhospitable to conventional crops increasing the food production and revenues for the farmers. Equally, through GMO technologies, various foods can be altered to act as edible vaccines. By doing so, the technologies have raised hopes of solving several health challenges associated with the delivery of safe and effective vaccines through conventional methods. For instance, genetically altered rice, referred to as golden rice, has been successful in reducing the effects of vitamin A deficiency in Asia.
In my opinion, debates on the issue are fueled by the fear of the unknown. For instance, some scientists claim that they have evidence of the nature of damage resulting from GMOs. However, it is surprising to note that these same scientists have little or no knowledge about the chances of the damages occurring. In this regard, consumer education should be prioritized by the governments wishing to embrace GMOs as a means of ensuring continuous food supply and increasing productivity. Since there is no evidence implicating GMOs of any health, economic, or environmental risks, I believe that there are more risks posed by conventional breeding compared with genetically modified breeding. As such, genetic breeding reduces risks associated with conventional breeding. This implies that GMOs should be adopted as the only way to assure sustainable food production.