Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Food shortage may lead to GM acceptance

This is with reference to a news article which appears in Mint today which informs that there may be a gradual acceptance of genetically modified (GM) food products as the scarcity reaches a flash point. The lead paragraph reads as follows:

Soaring food prices and global grain shortages are bringing new pressures on governments, food companies and consumers to relax their longstanding resistance to genetically engineered crops.

and concludes ...

With food riots in some countries focusing attention on how the world will feed itself, biotechnology proponents see their chance. They argue that while genetic engineering might have been deemed unnecessary when food was abundant, it will be essential to help the world cope with the demand for food and biofuels in the decades ahead.

The question to which most GM baiters do not have a logical response to is "If you are dying and there is no "non-contaminated" food left on earth will you consume GM food?"

The replies vary from 'obviously not' to 'it's obvious..i will'

Those who rally against the genetically engineered do have a point when they say that we just don't know enough yet, which is a position I agree with. But at the same time there are a millions of hungry mouths to feed with not enough food to go around. Even if there is plenty, it may not reach the poor due to its abysmally inflated pricing.

Traditional methods of farming may not have a sufficient answers to these problems.

The article suggests that Europeans, considered to be the most conservative on this issue, are also opening up to the prospect of using GM foods as cattle feed or even for human consumption.

The chairman of the European Parliament's agriculture committee, Neil Parish, said that as prices rise, Europeans "may be more realistic" about the issue of GM crops: "Their hearts may be on the left, but their pockets are on the right."

Well, the real concern here for me is that Agri-MNCs may use this ruse to promote and project GM foods as the panacea to food security and world hunger. An overrated solution which is not well understood can only lead to a hazardous, far - reaching consequences that may not be reversible in time to come.

The propaganda which will decidedly follow on this issue will be determinately one-sided. Splinters of which can be observed in the thinly veiled opinion pieces and analysis in the Indian media.

Although, the Indian policymakers have erred on the side of caution and taken very reserved measures in this direction, the temptation to align with a convenient option may prove to be too irresistible.

Article link:

Global grain shortage weakens opposition to engineered crops

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