There are a lot of misconceptions about genetically modified foods (GMO’s) and most of them have been formed from fear and ignorance. Agriculture has failed at getting out a clear message of what are GMO’s. Their cause is not helped as most of the modified seed is owned by large corporates.
Corporate Owned GMO’s
You will see that people get down on corporates because even poor countries are charged for seed and they have to buy new seed every season.. Before the discovery of GM seed, there were hybrids. These hybrid seeds were sold to poorer countries, desperate to grow more food. Due to the quality of the seed, it was necessary to buy new seed every year. Hybrid seed, generally, does not produce good yields when resown to grow second and third generation crops.
Hybrid seed is sold through different distributors. GM seed is controlled by a few large corporations who decide the market and the price. In developing poorer countries, the hybrid seed was sold to smaller distribution centres, but that distribution was controlled by Corporations or Governments.
History of Genetic Modification
My education background is agronomy (crop science) and one of my passions is teaching farmers to grow food efficiently and successfully. A little history to give context about GMO and its effect on our crops and food sources.
Genetical modification has been with us since the beginning of time. It is a natural process for like plants to trade genetic traits. Left up to nature, this is a long slow process. Research showed that this process could be speeded up. So ‘scientists’ intervened and discovered how to introduce certain traits with the process of hybridisation.
This process was quicker than nature but it still took a long time. However, the discovery was hailed as a breakthrough as it helped to increase the production of food. Genetical modification as it is practised today is simply an accelerated version of how plants have modified themselves from the beginning of time.
The next world crisis will be the availability of food as population growth is outstripping food production. It makes sense to look at and use technology that will help to increase the production of food.