There are great truths that underlie the growth and the consumption of GMO plants and the food that are derived from them. In the major GMO-growing nationalities, there are growing concerns that continue to arise about the impact of the GM plants on the environment as well as social consequences. This is especially the case for the crops that demonstrate tolerance to pesticides as well as resistance to insects. This often happens in the Southern region of America where GM plants are grown for the global production of foods as well as the unique impact it has on biodiversity. Currently, the government in the US has launched an investigation into the results of monopolies in the GM seeds. However, in this article, we will focus on some truths about GM plants concerning pesticides, yields, soil carbon levels, and the threat of GM trees and agrofuels.
The rise in the use of pesticides on GM plants
According to research reports across the globe, there is a significant increase of pesticides that are being used on GM crops. This is because of the development of pesticide resistant weeds that increases the use a cocktail of herbicides applied on GM crops. This is the reason for increased levels of pollution on the environment as well as the impact on the human health. For instance, in the regions of Southern Cone, over 200 million liters of biocides were reported to be applied to soy plants and 350 million liters applied on GM soy.
Additionally, there has been an eruption of a controversial issue in Argentina regarding the effects of glyphosate use on the development of the embryo. The solution that is currently anticipated on the weed resistance is increased use of herbicides as they continue to develop more crops that are genetically engineered to confer tolerance to a wide range of herbicides. The increased planting of GMO plants is making it difficult for people to feed themselves in the future due to the eradication of indigenous.
GMO crops are fashioned to increase yield
Some of the claims that are made by the GM industry are that GM plants reduce pesticide use as opposed to the statements raised in the previous point above. Additionally, it is believed that GM plants increase yield. This means that they have a role to play in handling the situation of climate change. The biotechnology industry is therefore currently taking advantage of the climate change negotiations made by the UN to make sure that GM crops are considered as mitigation to the issues of climate change. However, what we have to realize is that none of the plants that have been developed this far can confer a trait that directs the increase of yield for the plant. Additionally, no existing evidence is in support of the claims that GMO plants possess the ability to metabolize carbon.
GMO plants storage of carbon in soil and reduces fertilizer consumption
There are wide ranges of arguments that are made by biotechnological industries concerning the ability of the GM crops to lessen the loss of carbon from the soil. This is through plowing of land where the crops will be planted. However, tilling of land is a traditional practice that was designed to enhance water and soil conservation. This was developed even before the existence of the genetically engineered crops. It is the introduction and use of herbicides tolerant plants that have undermined the sustainability of the land tillage system. This is due to increase of pesticides used and the compaction of the soil as a result of heavy farm machinery.
Recent research results indicate that no tilling method can sequester more carbon than the conventional methods of plowing. This means that biotechnology industries Holy Grail of nitrogen fixing plants that would significantly lead to a decline in the need for artificial fertilizers are not known yet. This is still a theory that is aimed at reducing the need for burning fossil fuel, and hence, a reduction amounting to greenhouse gas emissions. However, this progress is still in its infancy, and the FAO report (2005) states its technical difficulties.
GM trees stores carbon
Currently, there is evidence that GM trees have the ability to store carbon. However, the risk with this type of plant is the complexity that is associated with it and the fact that they occupy significant habitats. Additionally, these plants are characterized by a wide range of interactions. There is also evidence that demonstrates the possibility of cross contaminations taking place in the fields due to aspects of seed dispersal. Additionally, the issue of transgenic sterility proves to be an aspect that is not an option regarding occurrence. This means that the ability of the GM plants to cross the national borders is one of the factors that threaten federal regulations making them insufficient.
Another claim that is made by scientists and the biotechnology industries is that GM crops are the key to improving fuel production. This is an area of GM plant development that is in progress. This is because over 90 percent of the global GM crops grown is being used as animal feeds and fuel instead of food. Additionally, such crops as genetically engineered Roundup Ready soya contribute to high greenhouse gas emission that could hinder this usage as well as contributing to changes in the climatic patterns.
It is evident from this article that genetically modified crops are promising to offer people with the food for the future. However, there is still need for multinational organizations as well as scientists to disclose all the truths about GM plants. This is because, despite its contribution, there are also dangers that are associated with their usage to humans, animals, and to the environment. This is because they have been attributed to contributing to climate change. This means that farming practices have to change radically to meet the challenges of warming the atmosphere. This is not compromising with feeding the population, protection, and restoration of biodiversity, agrofuels as well as services of the ecosystem. The good news is that with the support that is required from the stakeholders, agroecology has so much more to offer!