DW: Can GM crops promise food security?

DW: Can GM crops promise food security?
24 June 2024

In the millennia-long history of agriculture, farmers have traditionally cross-bred fruits, grains, and vegetables to enhance taste and yield. The advent of bioengineering in the 1970s marked a significant shift, enabling scientists to transfer genes between organisms and introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the market in the 1990s, initially met with skepticism and labeled as "Frankenstein foods." Fast-forward to the 2020s, a new "gene revolution" focuses on genetic editing rather than splicing genes, promising enhanced food security for a global population nearing 10 billion by 2050. Advocates, like the World Economic Forum, endorse biotech crops such as rice, maize, wheat, potato, and cassava, which are resilient to extreme weather and contribute to carbon capture. Critics, however, argue that industrial-scale GMOs exacerbate climate change through monoculture practices reliant on heavy inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. Despite these debates, biotech companies persist, highlighting benefits such as drought-tolerant maize and insect-resistant cowpeas, while opponents advocate for ecological, non-GM alternatives to foster biodiversity and sustainable food systems amidst escalating global challenges.

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