Thursday, February 18, 2016

Take Away Genetic Modification and the Poorest People Will Suffer the Most

I have to re-post the Ag. section of this Forbes article by Dr. Robert Fraley because it is too important a concept not to echo.

"The Real Cost of Eliminating GMOs"

"Consider the economic consequences if the critics of genetic modification were to have their way and eliminate this technology, in spite of the overwhelming scientific consensus in its favor. PG Economics, a British agricultural economics consulting firm, calculated that in 2013 farmers worldwide realized a net economic benefit of 20.5 billion from planting GMO crops.  Farmers in the developing world, many of them poor and working small plots, actually get a higher return on each dollar invested in GMO seeds than their counterparts in the developed world, PG found. 

Meanwhile, in 2014 researchers at the University of California Berkley published a study examining the impact of genetic modification on food prices.  They calculated that in 2010, the adoption of genetic modification lowered corn prices by 13 percent and cotton prices by 18 percent.  One of the researhces, David Zilberman, professor of agriculture and resource economics, estimated that without bioengineered crops, the price of food would be 5 to 10% higher than it is now - especially for meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and processed food.  Also important is the impact that GMO crops can have on the amount of time small holder farmers and their families spend controlling insects and hand weeding their fields.  In many African countries, as much as 90% of the farm work is done by women and children.  In these societies, therefore GMOs offer kids a chance to go to school instead - and thereby escape generational poverty traps.  Take away genetic modification, Zilberman noted, and "The poorest people will suffer the most." 

Supporting Research:
Technology's Role in the 21st Century

The Economics of Sustainable Development

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