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How can GMOs help less developed nations and food insecurity?

Submitted by: esyme


Expert response from Community Manager

Moderator for

Monday, 09/05/2016 11:26

There are a variety of ways in which GMOs help low- and middle-income countries address issues surrounding food security. In this response, Cecilia Chi-Ham, Director of Science & Technology at PIPRA, addresses this topic.


“It is really important that we consider the well-being of farmers in developing countries because they represent 90 percent of all farmers growing GM crops in the world (ISAAA, 2012). So far, biotechnology has offered developing countries farms with increased productivity, economic gains and environmental benefits, including reduced insecticide use and decreased hospital visits due to insecticide poisonings…


A recent study in India showed that farm families growing GM cotton had a higher percentage of medically assisted childbirth and were more likely to have immunized children, and their children were more likely to be enrolled in school. All these benefits were found to be directly related to the increased income generated by the GM cotton. Higher yields and decreased insecticide costs lead to increased farm income of up to 70 percent, according to this study by Choudhary and Gaur.


Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, also addresses the issue of food security in this thorough response to a similar question here. Rob explains:  


“In the developing world, for example in India, the Philippines and Burkina Faso, the yield impact has generally been more significant, through productivity increases that were unavailable without reliable access to other high quality inputs by smallholders.”


Check out this resource which explains GMOs and some of the ways they can benefit farmers, the environment and help raise food for the growing world population.


We hope the information provided answers your question. If you have any further questions, please ask. Also, feel free to contribute to the discussion in the comment section below!


Expert response from Rajvir S. Rathi

Vice President – Public & Government Affairs, Bayer Crop Science

Monday, 29/02/2016 17:49

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), between 1996 and 2012, GM crops contributed to food security, sustainability, the environment and climate change in many ways, including: 

  • Increasing crop production valued at US$116.9 billion
  • Conserving biodiversity by saving 123 million hectares of land
  • Helping to alleviate poverty for 16.5 million small, resource-poor farmers and farm families (equaling approximately 65 million people total)
  • Reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint by reducing CO2 emissions by 26.7 billion kg (equal to taking 11.8 million cars off the road for one year)


Also, certain genetically modified (GM) crops have a built in capacity to withstand or resist challenges posed by harmful insects/pests, disease and weeds and other environmental factors like drought. These crops can often offer equal benefits to growers irrespective of farm size, geography and whether they reside in developed or less developed nations.


Read more about how GMOs can address food security worldwide here: