Paul Lachine

Food for Thought on GM Crops

The global food crisis of 2007-2008 was a warning of what the future may hold in store if we continue with business as usual, including misplaced opposition to using modern science in food and agriculture. European and developing-country governments must reverse their hostility to GM organisms in order to help ensure food security for all.

COPENHAGEN – As the world continues to debate the impact of climate-change while seeking a new global treaty to prevent it, Kenya has endured a prolonged drought followed by heavy flooding. Maize plants have withered, hitting poor rural families hard. People are starving, and many of those who survive are grossly malnourished.

There is hope: next year, the Kenyan authorities will begin testing maize varieties that they hope will provide high yields and prove more resistant to drought. But why did farmers in Kenya and other African countries not have access to drought-resistant crop varieties before catastrophe struck?

One reason is that such crops rely on research tools used in molecular biology, including genetic engineering. African governments have been told that genetic engineering is dangerous, with many Europeans and their national governments – as well as transnational NGOs such as Greenpeace – determined to stay away from it.

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