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Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan

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Introducing genetic engineered crops in developing countries
The third world such as Africa is made up of overpopulated nations whose citizens are
not adequately food secured to alleviate hunger and malnutrition problems. The reasons why
food security in these nations remains an outstanding issue to debate are poverty, food scarcity
due to natural disaster and climatic change, wars causing displacement of people and poor
farming practices (Ilaboya et.al, 2012). According to the definition of the World Food Summit of
1996, food security exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious
food to maintain a healthy and active life. As established by the World Health Organization
(WHO), developing countries need to use three pillars of food security which are food
availability, food access, and food use. To address this debatable issue in developing nations,
the concept of genetically engineered crops may be a concrete solution to adequately feed the
population throughout the year. According to Verma et.al (2011), insertion of a transgene into
plant species results into genetically modified crops whose gene (s) is (are) altered to obtain
particular trait (s). As a result, these traits lead the genetically engineered crops to have
potentiality in increased pest and insect resistance as well as herbicide, cold and drought
tolerance. Therefore, developing countries should opt for genetic engineered crops in order to
ensure sustainable food security through increased crops pest resistance and weed control as
well as combat deficiency diseases.
The first reason why developing countries should allow developers of genetic engineered
crops to increase crop production is to ensure sustainability of food security through increase of
crops pest resistance and weed control.
Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan
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First, increased crops pest resistance can flourish crop yield which in turn may result in
sustainable food security in developing nations. The attempt to control crop pests in these
countries commonly involves the expenditure of high quantity of pesticides. Verma et.al (2011)
claim that annual input for controlling crop pests is high in comparison to the returns of farmers
and pesticide-treated foods are potentially hazardous to consumers. However, Verma and
colleagues (2011) point out that transgenic crops such as B.t corn are pest resistant which do not
necessitate use of chemical pesticides nor require huge financial investment. According to
Greenpeace (2011), genetically modified crops designed to control target pests contain a
bacterial gene which enables them to secrete a B.t toxin. Fortunately, this toxin may kill crop-
devastating pests in developing countries. However, Greenpeace (2011) claims that the B.t toxin
produced by genetic engineered crops such as B.t corn has lethal effect on beneficial insect
pollinators such as monarch butterfly. It could be argued that B.t toxin kills monarch butterfly as
insect pollinators, but there exist other flower pollinating agents such as wind, birds and other
animals. Furthermore, there are many insect species such as bees, wasps, moths and beetles
which also transfer pollen. Thus, there should not be any constraints in natural plant reproduction
as there exist diverse pollinating agents in the environment. Hence, B.t-toxin producing crops
such as maize should be introduced in developing countries in order to control pests that ravage
maize cultivars in the third world.
Secondly, weed control can contribute to increased crop production for sustainable food
security in developing nations. Generally speaking, weed causes a serious decline in crop
production because it is a wild, unwanted plant which competes for growth requirements with
cultivars. The most common methods of weeding in developing world such as Africa include
Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan
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tilling and chemical herbicides. According to Verma et.al (2011), Roundup (glyphosate) is a
herbicide that should be applied more frequently to control weed for soy bean. Genetically
modifying soy bean reduces the frequency of using this herbicide in the field of soy bean. Verma
and colleagues (2011) claim that herbicide should be applied once in a year when controlling
weed for genetically engineered soy bean strains, Leporinus obtusidens. However, the National
Academies (2010) in the United States point out that herbicide-resistant weed may increase in
the field of genetically engineered crops as a result of perpetual use of glyphosate. While it is
undeniable that herbicide-resistant weeds evolve because of routine use of glyphosate, the
National Academies (2010) in the United States argue that other weed control methods such as
herbicide rotation and tank-mixes should be incorporated with glyphosate for adequate weed
control. Since the United States is leading in genetic engineering technology, research activities
are underway to provide alternative ways of weed control. Opting for growing genetically
engineered crops helps to control weeds in such way that root system of these transgenic
organisms secretes toxins which, along with glyphosate, help manage weeds in the field.
Accordingly, developing nations should genetically engineer plants in order to increase crop
yield as a means of ensuring sustainable food Security.
The second reason why developing countries should opt for genetically modified crops is
the prevention of deficiency diseases. The struggle to combat malnutrition is a key to alleviating
deficiency diseases that are prevalent in the third world. According to UNFA (2005) as cited by
Azadi and Ho (2010), the ratio of adults to children who obviously show malnutrition symptoms
is approximately 4:1. According to Verma et.al (2011), the diet for people from developing
world mainly consists of the staple crop which is rice. Their claim is that rice is deficient in
Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan
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essential nutrients for meeting the recommended daily nutrient requirements of the human body.
Addressing malnutrition problems, Verma and colleagues (2011) argue that Xerophtalmia is a
severe vitamin A deficiency symptom that commonly threatens people from developing nations.
In their article, currently 250 million people lack vitamin A which brings about blindness in 500
thousand children whose over 50% die per annum. Consequently, Verma et.al (2011) point out
that the genetically engineered rice golden rice is highly rich in vitamin A and should be
grown in order for tremendous improvement of peoples lives from the developing world.
However, many opponents of genetically engineered rice argue that green leafy vegetables could
be alternatively grown in developing countries in order to provide individuals with vitamin A
(Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2004). While it is argued that green leafy vegetables such as
amaranths and spinach are sources of beta carotene (precursor of vitamin A), it is known that
daily body requirement in vitamin A is high compared to the availability of green leafy
vegetables and it is of utmost importance for assessing how golden rice could be supplement for
provision of Vitamin A. According to Green peace as stated by Nuffield Council on Bioethics
(2004), the adult human body daily requirement in vitamin A is 400 micrograms which would be
supplied by consuming approximately 3 kilograms of ordinary rice. However, the human body
cannot daily ingest this huge quantity of rice. To solve this problem, Nuffield Council on
Bioethics (2004) claims that body supply of at least 30-40% of the daily requirement in vitamin
A from the first generation of golden rice could sufficiently prevent high death rate and blindness
in children. Based on calculations performed by the Indian Council of Medical Research,
Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2004) found out that 100 grams of golden rice yields 40
micrograms of Vitamin A. Since childrens body daily requires 90-120 micrograms of vitamin
A, 225 -300 grams of golden rice would be consumed. However, research after research reveals
Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan
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that 120 micrograms of Vitamin A would be equivalent to 100 grams of new generation of
golden rice. For this reason, a small quantity of Golden rice is more substantial than ordinary rice
and more efficient than green leafy vegetables in meeting the daily body requirements in vitamin
A.
In addition to the Vitamin A as hugely provided by means of genetic engineering
technology of crops, there exist other potentials of genetically modified crops in preventing other
deficiency diseases. Genetic engineering technology of crops produces abundant and diverse
groups of healthy foods. According to Verma et.al (201), transamination by cross breeding
between legumes and wheat results in genetically modified wheat with fortification of essential
amino acids that are deficient in the pure strains of wheat and legumes. These essential amino
acids build up body proteins to construct cell membranes as well as the immune system and
prevent kwashiorkor in malnourished children. Since there are other nutrients to be provided by
transgenic plants, developing countries should opt on genetic engineered crops because they are
highly rich in essential nutrients for combating deficiency diseases.
In short, it has been demonstrated that genetic engineered crops are efficient as well as
advantageous in targeted pest and weed management and can also increase the nutritional value
of a food source, providing useful benefits, such as golden rice with extra vitamin A as discussed
above. With these beneficial potentialities of these outstanding crops, food insecurity and
malnutrion problems may be resolved once they are grown for food. Hence, the governments in
the developing countries should embark on encouraging and supporting their respective
communities to mitigate hunger and malnutrition through production and use of selective genetic
modified crops.
Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan
Student @ ashington State !niversit"# !SA $hone: In !S# %&'()*+,)--.),//0 # in Rwanda &1*+)20)
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References
Azadi, H., & Ho, P. ( 2010). Genetically modified and organic crops in developing countries:
A review of options for food security. Journal of Biotechnology Advances, 28, 160-168.
Retrieved from:
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/labs/gmfood_video/gm%20re
view%202010.pdf
Greenpeace ( 2011). Environmental and health impact of GM crops-the science.
Retrieved from:
http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/Publications/2011/impacts-the- science/
Ilaboya, I.R., Atikipo, E., Omafuma, F.E., Asekame, F.F., & Umukolo, L. (2012).
Causes , effects and way forward to food insecurity. Iranica Journal of Energy and
Environment, 3(2), 180-188.
Retrieved from: http://www.ijee.net/Journal/ijee/vol3/no2/12.pdf
Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2004). The use of genetically modified crops in developing
countries:A follow-up discussion paper. London: Nuffield Council on Bioethics.
Retrieved from:
Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan
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http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/sites/default/files/GM%20Crops%20Discussion%20Pap
er%202004.pdf
The National Academies (2010). The impact of genetically engineered crops on
farm sustainability in the United States.
Retrieved from:
http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/PageFiles/434214/GM_Fact%20Sheet_Healt
h_%20and_Env_Impacts.pdf
Verma, C., Nanda, S., Singh, R.B., & Mishra, S. (2011). A review on impact of
genetically modified food on human health. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 4, 3-11.
Retrieved from:
http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tonutraj/articles/V004/3TONUTRAJ.pdf







Genetic engineered crops in developing countries : Author: Francois Xavier NAYIGIZIKI Rwandan
Student @ ashington State !niversit"# !SA $hone: In !S# %&'()*+,)--.),//0 # in Rwanda &1*+)20)
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