Biotechnology & third world

Farid khan Asst.Prof Dept. chemical

involvement
‡ Third world organisations are seeking to improve the living conditions of poor people in developing countries. Their main interest in biotechnology is in the impact of genetically modified crops on the world food supply and small-scale agriculture in developing countries.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

2

general viewpoint
‡ Third world organisations do not believe that biotechnology will solve the problem of hunger in the world. They believe that smallscale, sustainable programmes, tailored to local conditions, will prove to be a better way of alleviating the food shortage in developing countries than genetically modified crops.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

3

ethical aspects
‡ Most of the third world organisations' objections to the way in which some companies deal with biotechnology applications are ethical. The organisations are concerned, for instance, that the image of poor, hungry people in developing countries is being misused in order to promote public acceptance of biotechnology.
10/11/2010 Farid khan 4

genetic modification
‡ Third world organisations are not in favour of genetic modification of animals. ‡ Third world organisations are not in favour of genetic modification of plants because it will not improve the living conditions of poor people in developing countries. ‡ Third world organisations have not expressed a unanimous opinion on genetic modification of microorganisms.
10/11/2010 Farid khan 5

Applications
‡ agriculture and food:Third world organizations believe that genetically modified crops will make very little contribution in the long term to increasing the world food supply or improving agricultural crop yields in developing countries.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

6

‡ Healthcare:Third world organisations have not expressed a unanimous opinion on the impact of biotechnology on healthcare in developing countries. ‡ industry and environmental technology: Third world organisations have not taken a stance on biotechnology applications relating to industry or the environment.
10/11/2010 Farid khan 7

‡ food safety: Third world organisations object to selling food containing genetically modified ingredients. They believe that these products have too many disadvantages and risks and that the long-term effects on public health have not been sufficiently studied. They mention the following risks:

10/11/2010

Farid khan

8

‡ resistance to antibiotics: Scientists use what are referred to as 'helper genes' when engineering genetically modified crops. These create resistance to certain antibiotics. This resistance might cross over to certain pathogenic (i.e. disease-causing) microorganisms, thus making them more difficult to fight.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

9

‡ food allergies: New proteins can enter our bodies via genetically modified organisms. These might cause food allergies. ‡ toxic substances: Genetically modified crops might produce new substances that are detrimental to our health

10/11/2010

Farid khan

10

‡ environmental safety: Third world organisations think that growing genetically modified crops involves too many risks for the environment and agriculture. They believe that the long-term risks are not sufficiently known. They mention the following risks:

10/11/2010

Farid khan

11

‡ Biodiversity: Genetic traits inserted into crops or animals may upset the balance of nature. Genetically modified plants or animals might, for instance, oust their wild relatives. Moreover, an insecticide that has been built into a plant to protect it from harmful insects might also be lethal to useful insects. The unintentional result might be the disappearance of a species and a consequent decline in biodiversity.
10/11/2010 Farid khan 12

‡ pollination by genetically modified crops: ‡ Pollen of genetically modified crops may be carried by the wind and pollinate weeds and crops in the fields of neighbouring farmers. The risk is that the new traits will be passed on unintentionally (crossing over). This might cause 'genetic pollution'.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

13

‡ threats to ecological farming: Wind-blown pollen may introduce a gene from a genetically modified crop plant into the crop of an organic farmer, who will then no longer be able to sell this crop as 'gentech-free'. ‡ Superweeds:Wind-blown pollen may introduce a gene from a genetically modified crop plant into the crop of an organic farmer, who will then no longer be able to sell this crop as 'gentech-free'.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

14

‡ dependence on pesticides and herbicides: Farmers can spray genetically modified crops that are resistant to a certain herbicide with unlimited amounts of that herbicide, without the plants dying. Farmers might, therefore, spray more than needed to keep their fields free of weeds. Third world organisations are concerned that herbicide use may consequently increase rather than decrease. In addition, third world organisations think that we should be striving for sustainable agriculture, with minimal use of herbicides. Genetically modified crops, however, make farmers dependent on these chemical compounds.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

15

‡ Resistance: Large-scale use of herbicides will in the long term make weeds resistant to these herbicides. Insects could develop resistance to genetically modified plants with built-in insecticides in the same way. Both developments are bad news for farmers. They will have to find new herbicides and pesticides because the traditional ones will no longer be effective.
10/11/2010 Farid khan 16

‡ freedom of choice: Third world organisations are concerned that consumers will not be able to buy products that do not contain genetically modified material. Consumers will then have no choice.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

17

‡ world food supply : Third world organisations do not believe that biotechnology will solve the problem of hunger in the world. There is sufficient food available in the world to feed the world's population, but it is not distributed equally and fairly. Biotechnology is not the right way to increase world food supplies. Instead of applying high-tech technologies, third world organisations advocate improving local productivity through sustainable agricultural programmes that are tailored to local conditions.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

18

patents and the position of industry
‡ Third world organisations do not approve of patents being granted on genetically modified organisms. Companies should not be permitted to become owners of plants and animals because nobody can own nature. ‡ Third world organisations believe that companies have too much influence on the development of new crops. They believe that companies will not make much effort to develop crops that are adapted to local conditions in developing countries. The potential markets will simply be too small and expected profits too low.

10/11/2010

Farid khan

19

patents and the position of industry
‡ Farmers who grow genetically modified crops have to buy new seed from seed producers every year. They are not permitted to set aside seed for the following year. Farmers also buy the herbicides and pesticides needed for spraying the crops from the very same seed producers. Third world organisations disapprove of this double dependency on the grounds that it will give companies too much influence on agriculture and food supplies. Moreover, only large farmers can afford to buy these expensive seeds.
10/11/2010 Farid khan 20

‡ economic interests: Third world organisations believe that developments in biotechnology are driven by economic motives. Biotechnology companies want to make money from biotechnology applications. According to third world organisations, many companies take advantage of the image of poor, hungry people in the developing countries in order to get their products accepted by the public.
10/11/2010 Farid khan 21