It is within the mission set for 2017 that genetically modified crops have negative impacts on the ecosystem and the entire biodiversity. However, it is quite sad that most of the multinational organizations such as Monsanto do not have the best interests of humankind at heart. It is important to take note that other bodies such as the FDA ensure that the safety of the GM plants and the foods produced from them are safe for human consumption. This means that the foods that are generated from GMO plants have to possess a high standard of safety equal or greater than that we obtain from plants that are bred using the traditional techniques. However, despite all these efforts that have been put in place by safety bodies, there are still concerns involving GMO plants. These include:
– Contamination of farmlands and natural habitats
Genetically engineered plants have been reported to play a crucial role in threatening contamination of the surrounding farming areas as well as natural plant home. This is the central reason why there is low biodiversity among crops that are bred for food as well as the reason for monoculture. Genetically engineered plants often have the ability to adapt better to the environmental conditions and thus increasing their capacity to outcompete plants that occur naturally. The central mandate is not to contribute to loss but rather offer significant support to guided land and climate analysis to ensure that GMO plants are prevented with buffer zones across fields.
– Seed patenting
The issue of seed patenting of genetically modified plants is a growing problem in research as well as agriculture as a whole. This is because when a given formula is obtained for GMO plants, it is the multinational companies that patent and make this commercial. For example, when the strain of Bacillus thuringiensis cotton was produced, Monsanto patented this, and they had control over 95 % of the cotton marketed in India. This sort of monopoly has contributed to the dramatic increase in the prices of cotton leaving the farmers in debt and thus unsustainability of their livelihoods.
This patenting and commercialization of the GMO plants has been the main reason for cross contamination of seeds and thus this problem is passed on to the farmers by selling those contaminated seeds. This means that if the farmer has the GMO plant in their possession and has not planted it but for some reason their field is contaminated, then the lawsuit will be on those that have the patent. However, in case the farmer steals the GMO crop patented, then they are subject to facing a lawsuit. This means that farmers have to be sensitized on aspects that relate to the cross-contamination of GMO plants. However, the current problem is that the multinational companies that are marketing the seeds ensure that the farmers do not keep the seeds for the following year, and this renders the farmers in debt. This is because they have to constantly increase their yield to afford the seeds for planting. A case study in India reveals that most farmers each year find themselves taking loans to provide the seeds that are sold at exorbitantly high prices.
– Destruction of seeds that once existed
The fact that most of the laws have illegalized farmers having seeds from their companies through the seed patenting and commercialization aspect, there is a significant issue of gradual destruction of the naturally occurring seeds. This is through the competition and cross-contamination of GM plants sold by the multinational companies. This is based on the fact that in case the crops that are of one genetic makeup are subjected to failure in a given agricultural year, then the yield goes down, and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers is threatened.
– Political and economic structures
The issues that I have discussed above concerning the GM plants are often influenced by political and economic problems that are linked to the creation, production and distribution of GM plants. Today, genetically engineered plants have not been very useful to small holder farmers. This is because the pressure that is exerted by biotechnological companies, as well as agribusinesses, is quickly killing the existence of small farms. This is because there is a threat that small farms produce more foods than large farms. Additionally, it is the small farms that have the ability of successfully introducing sustainable practices as opposed to the case of industrial farms. This is the reason why the mission set for 2017 is in support of biotech downscaling. This is geared towards encouraging the production as well as the distribution of a wide range of GMO plants that meets the needs of farmers across different ecosystems.
We require a healthy agricultural system that integrates GM plants, and laws have to be streamlined by the government to regulate the activities that are carried out by biotechnological companies. It is these regulations that serve as the hope hindering monopolies and abuse of farmers that are not to blame for issues of cross contaminations. Additionally, there is a need to alter legislations that are in support of industrial farming. For example, the New Deal made in the 1930s gave rise to a set of programs in the US that guaranteed fair pricing of corn instead of permitting free market pricing. This means that the poor farmers that have labored in the farm for their produce did not have the continually increase their yield to stay out of debt like the case today. This means that the system made sure that there was fairness in the pricing of their crops to encourage small farmers as well as promote biodiversity. If this political and economic structure were to be adopted today, then farmers would be encouraged to increase crop biodiversity. This will prevent farming practices that promote planting of a single strain of GMO plants in a huge truck of land. It is these policies that promise to benefit developing countries that rely on agriculture for the most parts of their economy and livelihoods.