Genetically Modified Food are foods whose genetic make-up has been altered to maximise quantities and improve their quality.
The yields are relatively higher to supply the insatiable demand for fresh crops. The more the quantities of GMOs, the lower the market price. The lower the price the more the affordability. It provides consumers with an opportunity to have an alternative choice.
Genetically modified crops reduce the use of pesticides in the soil because some genetically modifies crops are pest resistance. There are not attacked by some pests eg sweet corn can be modified to kill harmful insects. Chemicals can cause soil pollution and can contaminate water after soil erosion and may affect drinking water and life in water. Again, top soil is conserved due to reduced weeding or activity in the soil. Genetic engineering creates more employment. From management, production to processing the crops need more labour and technology. This creates employment for the locals. In densely populated areas genetically modified crops are more ideal as they use less land but more production. A transgenic crop will bear more fruits with high nutrition value. Genetically modified foods are more attractive, fresher and have more flavour for a scrumptious meal. They have increased nutrient value that helps the body to fight diseases better.
Rice can be modified to produce more beta carotene that is good to prevent vitamin A Deficiency. It is also worth noting that they have a longer shelf life. This reduces wastage and favours retailers who may still be grappling with demand. Botswana, being semi –arid, will particularly benefit from GMOs because they can still grow in sandy western soil which for now is labelled poor and infertile.
This will decongest arable activities in the eastern side to spread out to the Ghanzi and Kgalagardi zones and produce more drought resistant crops.
Labelling of the genetically modified food both in packages and on shelves reduces any seeming or real act of imposition. Most countries have regulations that require labelling but they do differ in the degree of compliance.
Some may have a strict approach with penalties for defaulters while other countries have a rather casual approach to labelling, predominantly, because there are counter-labelling arguments.
However, genetic modification disrupts the natural process of gene flow or natural selection. The genetic alterations produce a crop that is near the natural one and, arguably, should so be the case by nomenclature.
It is reported that some genes from the GMO crops can be passed on to natural plants in the surrounding. This can tamper with the genetic makeup of the natural plants. There is a moral issue emanating from development of genetically modified crops: They disturb food webs in the environment.
Some pests can develop immunity to genetically modified crops. This can make the pests attack the crops with ease. In some countries a few acres of land are planted with the same but natural species of the crop to weaken immunity of the pests.
A GMO plant can be resistant to herbicides, giving rise to super weeds and super herbs. Modern food biotechnology has increased the cost of cultivation and commercialised crop production to feed the increasing population.
More technology and labour are required to grow the crops. This may leave out the subsistent farmer who uses simple implements and basic farming methods. Small farms die giving rise to mass production.
This is an avalanche of reports that, however, are dismissed by food scientists and food safety assessment bodies as having no evidence. They dismissed that GMOs cause allergies, cancer and anti- bacterial resistance.
They refute that GMOs change human DNA, are toxic to the pancreas, kidney and liver or that animals fed with GMOs die soon. They say rather GMFs reduce toxicity as people eat GMF with less pesticides and herbicides. There is an unknown health risk of consuming transgenic crops. Currently, there is no evidence that GMOs are dangerous.
We know that health, like any science, is a highly dynamic area, for example, prevention, prophylaxis and care for a particular disease may be relevant today but may not be applicable tomorrow.
The benefits of consuming GMOs and the conflicting reports that are dismissed as having no evidence including by the World Health Organization create an apparent uncertainty that may disable us to confidently project if the future of GMOs is bright, gloom or mild. The perceptions and speculative risks are often generalized. Please like my Facebook page