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Do you believe that GMOs are important to human survival? Why?

Submitted by: Cody Arnsby


Expert response from Janet Carpenter

Owner, J E Carpenter Consulting LLC M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics

Thursday, 12/07/2018 15:50

Addressing world hunger is exceedingly complex, as we currently produce enough food to feed the global population, but still 815 million people in the world were estimated as chronically undernourished in 2016. And while global population growth is slowing, world population is still expected to rise from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. More needs to be done to address disparities in access to adequate nutrition (see FAO 2017), but it is clear that we will also need to increase agricultural production to keep pace with population growth.

The challenge for agriculture worldwide is to increase production in a changing climate while reducing environmental impacts. GMOs have already increased yields and reduced the environmental impact of farming, where they have been deployed, especially in developing countries where hunger is more prevalent. However, there is much unrealized potential for available GMO technologies that could be beneficial in countries where they are not currently grown, as well as from technology that is still in development. 

The genetic modification of crops, with traits such as pest and disease tolerance, stress tolerance and enhanced nutritional characteristics can contribute to meeting the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population in the decades to come.