A Solution to Hunger?

By Jamil, Kaiser | UN Chronicle, September 2009 | Go to article overview

A Solution to Hunger?


Jamil, Kaiser, UN Chronicle


World hunger and food insecurity is a recurring problem in most parts of the developing world. Among the many potential biotechnologies that are available, and the different ways in which they can be applied, genetic modification (GM) of crops demands particular attention. Genetically modified crops possessing genes from different species, could possibly relieve global food shortages. Although initial excitement surrounded the use of gm crops--that they will provide bigger and better harvests for farmers--there are still questions about the benefits of such crops. In addition, the general public may not welcome the creation of "super plants" as a viable option in solving global hunger.

The environmental impact of gm crops is important with regard to creating food security in developing countries. Genetically modified crops can potentially fail to germinate; kill organisms other than pests that are beneficial to plants and reduce soil fertility; and potentially transfer insecticidal properties or virus resistance to wild relatives of the crop species.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A segment of the scientific community often proposes that export earnings from higher agricultural yields can contribute to reducing food insecurity and hunger in developing countries. However, there are many issues and challenges that beg the practicality of this proposal. A few crop varieties, specially created through biotechnology, can improve yields, but biotechnology alone cannot solve the problem of hunger in the developing world.

Nevertheless, the potential advantages that biotechnology can confer across a wide range of agricultural applications are in areas such as livestock management, storage of agricultural products and sustaining current crop yields, while reducing the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. The real challenge is whether we are smart enough to harness the benefits of biotechnological solutions. But what are these solutions?

Biotechnology offers a very promising alternative to synthetic foods and an improvement on conventional plant-breeding technologies. Combined with other advanced agricultural technologies, it offers an exciting and environmentally responsible way to meet consumer demand for sustainable agriculture. When the benefits of gm crops reach small and marginal farmers, more Green Revolutions may become a reality.

COMBATING HUNGER AND MALNUTRITION

Malnutrition is the related term in medicine for hunger. The most recent estimate of the Food and Agriculture Organization says that 854 million people worldwide are undernourished. This is 12.6 per cent of 6.6 billion people in the world. Many of the 820 million that are undernourished, children being the most visible victims, live in developing countries. Undernutrition magnifies the impact of every disease, including measles and malaria.

One example tells us how biotechnology can contribute to combating global hunger and malnutrition.

GOLDEN RICE

Approximately 140 million children in low-income groups in 118 countries, especially in Africa and South-East Asia, are deficient in Vitamin A. This situation has compounded into a public health challenge. The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 Vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. Golden Rice, created by researchers in Germany and Switzerland, contains three new genes--two from the daffodil and one from a bacterium--that helps it to produce provitamin A. This rice is available as a possible option for mass distribution, in part due to the waiving of patent rights by biotechnology companies. This is just one among the hundreds of new biotech products, which point to the contributions of biotechnology to society.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND FOOD SECURITY

There are concerns about a technological landscape controlled almost exclusively by the private sector and defined by patent protection. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Solution to Hunger?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.