Organic Agriculture and Genetic Modification Organisms Clash

On the second day of the Africa Food Security Conference organized by Aidembs Business Solutions protagonists of genetic modification met with those of organic agriculture. At this debate a clarification was made that bio-technology as a term is different from genetic modification. Bio-technology seeks to improve the quality of plants by cross breeding them with others that have desirable characteristics while on the other hand genetic modification aims at genetic improvements through changing the molecular composition of genes. Bio-technology imposes no harm to humans or the bio-diversity as it produces plants that are more resilient in comparison to their parent plants.

A question was asked to one of the presenters on why genetic engineering is not being used in Europe. The answer was quick “Europeans have enough food on their plate and they are not starving.” The geneticists showed how they had helped create better varieties of the existing plants. One of the fears expressed by the organic agriculture proponents is the fact that subjecting (small-scale farmers) to GMs would mean that they will lose control over their seeds and that they have to constantly depend on suppliers for seeds every season. On the other hand the companies pushing for genetic engineering are privately owned and motivated by profit motives. This means that we shall soon hear issues of intellectual property and there are also socio-economic values that are not being addressed well.

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