Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Biotechnology can feed the world


“Critics of Biotechnology say the process, especially in Agriculture does more harm than good; either to the consumer or the environment. Thousands of good things are criticized; sometimes simply because the critic has no clear understanding or has a different view. In the case of Biotechnology I think most times it’s due to the former, and this brings the question “what is Biotechnology?”

Agricultural Biotechnology is a process of enhancing seeds. The actual process called genetic modification takes place in the laboratory, where genes of a particular plant are transferred to another in order to enhance it. In this process for instance, genes of plants that grow without adequate rainfall are extracted and transferred to a plant that needs much water.
Therefore the plant that needs much water can grow even in places where there is no adequate rainfall. There are certain plants that pests don’t eat; their genes can also be transferred to another in order to make it pest resistant. So how then will genetically modified maize or soy bean seeds planted in the conventional way be harmful to lives, especially when no chemical is added? These are things critics need to understand.

Another argument is that the world has been surviving on food crops planted in the conventional way, why then is the need for Biotechnology today.

First is the issue of Global Population Growth. Estimate shows that there are about 7 billion people today, and by year 2050, the world population is estimated to reach 9 Billion. People need to eat, so therefore, there is need to produce more food to feed the world.

Unfortunately as the population grows, farmlands are converted to shelter, reducing Agricultural output. About 70% of earth’s fresh water is being used in agriculture, which is making rivers and lakes to run dry. Adverse effect of Climate change, in some places makes rivers and lakes to over flood, destroying more and more food crops and occupying farmlands. This means therefore that with few food crops and less farmland more people need to be fed in the future.

Another scaring fact is Agriculture is one of the largest contributors of green house emission in the world. Emissions from Cattle waste, emissions from fertilizer and pesticide productions, emissions from modern farming equipments and so on.

Biotechnology brings along an alternative and safe way of producing more same natural yields using less seeds, less pesticide, less fertilizer, less water and less land. More so, produces crops that are drought and flood resistant and reduced greenhouse gas emission.”

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