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Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically Modified Crops

Economic Issues

            Genetically modified crops have been the subject of debate for decades now. There are both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to genetically modified organisms, which has led to arguments in different areas, all trying to outweigh each other. One economic argument for genetically modified crops is their environmental effect. Accordingly, such crops will reduce the number of chemicals, including herbicides and pesticides, that are used on organic crops (Garcia-Yi et al., 2014). This reduction then reduces the amount of pollution in rivers as well as the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The argument against this economic impact is that these crops will also bring about environmental disruption by altering biodiversity. The second economic argument for genetically modified crops is that they would sustain food because they can be farmed even in challenging conditions (Garcia-Yi et al., 2014). However, there is a possibility that the supply chain of these products would be affected by giving a monopoly of costs and benefits to those in charge of supply.

A second economic argument against genetically modified crops is that they can interfere with farmers who want to farm organic crops (Garcia-Yi et al., 2014). This can happen through cross-pollination, whereby farms in nearby areas pollinate each other. As such, farmers with contracts to supply non-genetically modified products will be significantly affected and could experience huge losses as a result. Another argument for genetically modified plants is that they would greatly benefit farmers. Said crops do not need much to grow, as pesticides, herbicides, and complex irrigation schemes would not be needed. The production cost of farming products would be significantly low, and since the quality is still good or even better, the farmer only gets more profits.

Scientific Issues

            One scientific argument for genetically modified crops is that they can be modified to have more nutritional value than organic crops. As such, they provide more nutrients to their consumers even when consumed in small amounts. Bio-fortified rice, known as Golden rice, is enriched with vitamin A (Regis, 2019). These nutrients are of great benefit to consumers. On the other hand, there are scientific concerns against genetically modified crops. Over the decades, the safety of consuming genetically modified organisms has been nothing short of contradictory. Some studies have shown negative results, others were positive, and others were inconclusive. Therefore, there is no conclusive, scientifically proven data on the safety of said crops. This then creates a lot of uncertainty and conflict, especially when the topic becomes a political issue, particularly in developing countries.

Political Issue

One political argument for genetically modified crops is based on the rapid population growth the world is experiencing today. A rapid rise in population can strain political institutions and increase the pressure on services provided. To maintain a stability, governments must be able to meet the demands of the population, which include food security. The world has already reached the eight billion mark, and research by the World Health Organization shows that by 2050, this number will be at 9 billion (Trewavas & Leaver, 2001). Considering the above statistics, governments must find ways to triple the production of food in their countries to avoid food crises. Notably, the world is also facing environmental challenges, such as reduced water supply, flooding, and changing weather patterns, all attributed to global warming. Therefore, governments must implement policies to ensure their countries do not face famine in the next few decades. A political argument against genetically modified crops is mainly based on the uncertainty of the safety of these crops to both people and the environment (Carolan, 2016). Accordingly, the argument is that the unknown risks that genetically modified crops pose to humans, animals, and the environment can be very dangerous and irreversible.


Carolan, M. (2016). The sociology of food and agriculture. Routledge.

Garcia-Yi, J., Lapikanonth, T., Vionita, H., Vu, H., Yang, S., Zhong, Y., … & Wesseler, J. (2014). What are the socio-economic impacts of genetically modified crops worldwide? A systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence3(1), 1-17.

Regis, E. (2019). Golden rice: The imperiled birth of a GMO superfood. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Trewavas, A. J., & Leaver, C. J. (2001). Is opposition to GM crops science or politics? EMBO reports2(6), 455-459.


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Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically Modified Crops

What are the arguments for and against genetically modified crops? Discuss the scientific, economic, and political issues.

(S) Essential Environment: The Science Behind the Stories
Jay Withgott & Matthew Laposata, 2018
ISBN.13: 978-0-134-71488-2

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