Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have with time brought a sense of anxiety in the minds of consumers and environmentalists, among others; and this has resulted in a marked divide between the proponents and opponents when it comes to the use of genetically engineered foods.

Proponents believe that the increased yields resulting from genetic engineering can bolster food security and efficiently, affordably and responsibly feed the 7.6 billion people currently living on Earth. Opponents of genetic engineering, however argue that this technology has only been around since the 1990s, therefore, the true long-term health or environmental effects of these products cannot be known.

This article is the second of a four-series feature on genetic engineering, after Genetic Engineering – Definition, History, Benefits and Risks. It aims at outlining the two sides of the debate, the reasons why each side feels the way they do, and the points that justify each opinion.

Is genetic engineering a potential cure for world hunger?

Whether GMOs’ increased yields can feed a hungry world or whether they cannot is a big debate. Proponents of GM foods argue that since GMOs are easier to produce in large quantities, and may be modified to have a longer shelf life, they have the potential to reduce world hunger and poverty, improve nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitate social and environmental sustainability; especially if they are efficiently distributed to places where food is sparse. Anti-GM activists refute this argument by wondering why GMO manufacturers have not shown any interest whatsoever in using them to alleviate world hunger; they wonder why, in the two decades that GM crops have existed, the world has experienced several famines and disasters that could have benefited from genetically engineered food; they contend that GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate non-GMO agricultural technologies.

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