Wednesday 15 September 2010

Regulate, don't ban, GM

There's no doubt there is an increasing global food crisis, with food prices set to soar further. And organizations like Avaaz are doing their bit to persuade governments to donate emergency food aid and reconsider agricultural policy. However, Avaaz, Greenpeace and others are also involved in campaigns to totally ban genetically modified (GM) crops. As we know, some activists are even trying to destroy scientific trials of food crops. In my opinion, this is short-sighted.

The use of GM crops can defeat disease and increase yields, thereby providing a positive impact on the food crisis. On the negative side, there is a tendency for GM laboratories to modify plants so that they produce sterile seed, which means that farmers cannot take seed from one crop to sow the next. Rather, they have to buy seed again from an outside supplier. This is counter-sustainable, and IS a problem, also having the effect of making the poor poorer.

We certainly need to regulate the GM industry, but an outright ban is not the way forward.

GM crops are more far likely to be part of the solution than the problem.