This is the sixth 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.
This is possibly one of the most urgently-needed benefits that we can get from genetically modifying the crops that we grow. Malnutrition is very common in third world countries. In these same countries, people rely on a single crop such a rice as the main staple of their diet. This causes them to not have adequate amounts of all the necessary nutrients to prevent malnutirion.
To explain briefly, these are the main points:
- Most people in third world countries rely on a single crop as their main source of nutrition. This means that they do not get all necessary nutrients that a healthy human being requires.
- People that do not have all the necessary nutrients that are generally part of a well-rounded diet, such as vitamin A, can suffer from the consequences. For example, many coastal third world countries in Africa use rice as the staple of their diet. Rice in its natural form does not have sufficient amounts of vitamin A, leading to a high rate of blindness in those areas.
That’s the general gist of the arguments against using non-genetically modified methods. Let’s dive deeper into these concerns.
Single Crop Diets Are Nutritionally Deficient
As I mentioned earlier, many people in the third world use a single crop as their main source of sustenance. This means that they do not benefit from the nutrient rich diet that those who have many different foods in their diet. This could be due to several reasons. Culture and poverty are usually the two biggest of these reasons. It is not within the scope of this blog to discuss those two, but as is obvious, changing those two is a monumentous task.
It is better for governments and the public to realize that if those same crops were to be genetically modfiied to include other vitamins and nutrients, we would not face this massive problem that already has sucked million of dollars without producing tangible results.
Nutritionally Deficient Diets Lead To Complications
Because of the conditions that they are born in, many in the third world succumb to complications that were no fault of their own. THe blindness example is just one of several problems. For example, rice also does not have a lot of iron. A severe deficiency of iron in children under the age of five is the reason Africa has such a high rate of child rickets cases.
This solution has alreaby been put to practice, but I will explain why the short-sightedness of certain groups has prevented the implementation of these life-saving solutions.
Researchers ar the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology for Plant Scientists created a type of rice that they named “golden rice.” This rice contained a very high content of vitamin A. Since this research was funded by the Rockerfeller Foundation, the Institute hoped to offer the golden rice seed for free to any third world country that requested for it. Plans were also underway to develop a type of rice that contained a high iron-count.
However, the grant that funded the creation of these two rice strains was not renewed, due to the vigorous anti-GM food protesting in Europe, and so the nutritionally-enhanced rice may not come to market at all.
Why do you think that anti-GM foods refuse to atleast accept this benefit and allow these kinds of seeds to be distributed to the third world where this would be literally life-saving?
This is the sixth part of this series. There are several other benefits such as pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought 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.