Expert response from Dr. Stuart Smyth
Assistant Professor, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan
Friday, 07/21/2017 12:21
No single crop or food production method is capable of feeding the world on its own, so no, GMOs by themselves will not feed the world. However, as part of a global strategy to improve global food security, GMOs can have a tremendously positive contribution to feeding the world.
Current food production methods result in an estimated 800 million people being food insecure, with a further 1.2 billion not receive a sufficient level of nutritious food on a daily basis. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 2 billion people do not receive enough, or nutritious enough, food daily. Given that GM crops and foods have been blocked from being commercialized in many food insecure countries, existing food production methods are unlikely to be able to make a noticeable contribution to improving food security. Innovative technologies in plant breeding and crop production in all forms of food production are essential to ensuring that an integrated approach to improving food security is implemented. GM crops, can and will, be able to contribute to improving food security in some regions.
A 2014 article by Klümper and Qaim document that GM crops result in a 22 percent yield increase over conventional crops. A yield increase of this level won’t end food insecurity, but it makes a beneficial contribution every day to improving food security in food insecure countries and regions.
Klümper, W., Qaim, M., 2014. A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops. PLOS One 9 (11), 1-7.