For many people, reading the words “GMO-free” on a food label at the grocery store brings a positive sentiment. In fact, around 39% of Americans reported in a 2016 Pew Research survey reported that they believed GMOs–organisms whose genes have been molecularly altered in favor of specific traits–are worse for one’s health. Resistance or apathy toward GMOs is common in developed Western countries, but these foods have the potential to change the lives of people not as fortunate as their well-fed, wealthy counterparts.
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According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 90% out of the estimated 2050 global population of 6 billion people will live in developed nations, which leaves farmers needing to grow 70 percent more food within the next thirty years. Biofortification through genetic engineering addresses this issue by improving the practicality and nutritional value of foods.
There have been a number of biotechnology initiatives worldwide to combat hunger and agricultural crises, including _______. In Nigeria, a project to supply farmers with a type of rice crop genetically-engineered to contain high levels of vitamin A was introduced in _____ by _______. Three genes from corn and bacterium are inserted into the cells of the rice grain, and the resultant product is light yellow, hence the name “golden rice”. Considering the socio-scientific, economic, and environmental implications, the Nigerian government should subsidize the growing of “golden rice”. _____(Road Map)________. However, opponents argue that the crop goes against valuable traditions and that such direct “tampering” with nature is unethical. Especially in an era in which rapid modernization and the effort to hold on to traditions often clash, the controversy over the consequences of genetically-modified organisms such as golden rice has _____ limited its use.
The Nigerian famine has intensified over recent years due to the rising cost of food, ongoing violence, and decrease in aid from international organizations. Currently, up to 5.2 million people are in need of food aid, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council, a humanitarian NGO established after the Second World War. Cheick Ba, director of the NRC explains the situation, “Armed conflict and violence are driving this food crisis, and innocent families are bearing the brunt.” The UN World Food Programme has made a tremendous difference in assisting these innocent civilians, but Ba alludes that Nigeria should not be solely reliant on donations, explaining that “providing people with food is only a short term solution.” Likewise, in times of political or economic struggle, funding from private relief organizations is cut at the expense of desperate citizens. In July of 2017, the WFP was unable to provide emergency food assistance for 400,000 people due to a lack of funding, which highlights the urgent demand for a more sustainable solution.
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