GMOs are not the magic bullet to end global hunger

I am no Luddite. In fact I am all for any technology that improves agricultural yields in rural Africa and raises the nutritional content of the food we produce as well as food security.

Editor,

RE: “How biofortified crops are having significant impact on lives” (The New Times, October 18).

 

I am no Luddite. In fact I am all for any technology that improves agricultural yields in rural Africa and raises the nutritional content of the food we produce as well as food security.

 

We must nonetheless remain vigilant against the slippery slope represented by the siren song of those pushing the idea that GMO is a magic bullet for our nutritional needs and food security. It doesn’t, and we may find the real cost when the bill associated with our adoption of GMOs is eventually presented to us to be way higher than we can afford.

 

Those who push GMOs as a panacea for starving and under-nourished Africans and other third world populations — invariably individuals and institutions with a vested interest in GMO producers and therefore in a situation of a conflict of interest — remind me of the words of the American journalist, social critic and satirists Henry C. Mencken: There is always an easy solution to every human problem – neat, plausible and wrong!

Except in the case of GMOs, their sponsors’ abiding commercial interest is more about getting their product to be more widely accepted across the world than it is about solving the human needs for better quality nutrition food (it doesn’t) and food security (you cannot ensure food security by handing control of your most important farm input – seeds – over to monopolist multinationals interested solely in maximising their profits).

It is, therefore, critically important that, if all these products involve GMOs, we better make haste very slowly. We may never be able to reverse our course and the processes involved once we get on the GMO conveyor.

Mwene Kalinda

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