This is the third of a series of articles that I will write to explain and outline the advantages of genetically modifying food and organisms. Before moving forward, I should point out that I will discuss some of the disadvantages to genetic changes to crops, but that will come after this series is over. Sign up on the right of the blog to receive updates directly to your email inbox to ensure you don’t miss any part of the series.
Read other articles in this series here.
Plants are regularly attacked by harmful organisms such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. These cause disease in the plant and crops, leading to large-scale loses. I have briefly talked about these losses in previous articles, and have an article scheduled to talk about the economic impacts of crop-losses on an international scale. These losses also effect you, even though you are probably reading this miles away from the nearest farm.
To explain briefly, these are the main points:
- Diseases cause widespread crop losses, resulting in great economic losses to both the individual farmer as well the host country.
- Losses of harvest and crops can and frequently do result in food shortages around the world, especially in the area in which the disease is widespread.
That’s the general gist of the arguments against using non-genetically modified methods. Let’s dive deeper into these concerns.
Diseases Cause Widespread Crop Losses
Farming is an expensive endeavor, especially if done on a large scale. The equipment needed is costly, and is usually acquired after getting loans from banks or governments. Farmers depend on the profits from their harvests to be able to pay back the installments to these loans, as well as keep a part of the return for themselves. When the disease affects their crops, it is very difficult to control it to just part of the harvest. Therefore, once one section of the farmer’s crops are infected, he will have virtually no chance of having a good harvest that year.
This can be devastating not just to the farmer on a personal level, but also to his business. That is because bills still need to be paid regardless of the state of the harvest. Likewise with loan installments. I will discuss in a later post the economic problems that a bad harvest leads to, on both a national and international level.
Disease Leads To Food Shortages
As I mentioned above, once a section of the farm is infected, it very quickly spreads to other parts of the farm. Soon the farmer finds himself with no produce to contribute to the market and sell. Consider that most farms are close to one another, especially commercial farms. These commercial farms contribute a large amount of food in the world market. Consider for example Brazil. If the banana harvest were to be infected through the region, it would lead to a severe shortage of the fruit throughout the world.
Genetically modified food can be altered in a way that would allow it to be resistant to almost all the commonly prevalent organisms such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. this way farmers can protect their crops and have a good harvest.
This is the third part of this series. There are several other benefits such as pest resistance, herbicide resistance, cold tolerance, pharmaceuticals, etc. Enter your email address below to get these articles directly in your inbox when they are posted. You will also get a free ebook that explains the basics of GM food and GMO. It contains everything you need to know to be able to dive deeper into these discussion in your own research as well as in conversation with your colleagues and friends. Sign up below!