What role do GMOs play in feeding a growing population?
As the world’s population continues to grow, possibly by two billion by 2050, and if agriculture’s land resources stay the same or shrink, GM seeds can play a vital role in feeding the world while improving environmental sustainability. GM seeds can contribute to a reduction in the amount of land, water and chemicals needed to produce more food.
This can contribute greatly to conservation and environmental stewardship. In particular, GM seeds can help protect the land and keep soil healthy. Additionally, as seed companies and researchers continue to make new strides in developing crops with the use of genetic engineering, there are increased opportunities to enhance the nutritional profile of foods that are important in developing countries that need nutrient-rich food. About 870 million people are estimated to have been undernourished during the period of 2010–2012. This represents 12.5 percent of the global population, or one in eight people. The vast majority of these 870 million people live in developing countries, where the prevalence of undernourishment is now estimated at 14.9 percent of the population.
Today, according to ISAAA (The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications), GM seeds provide extensive benefits to small farmers around the world. More than 90 percent of farmers who use GMOs globally are small farmers or people who resource poor farmers in developing countries. For the first time, more than half, 52 percent, of GM crops were grown in developing nations versus 48 percent for industrialized countries (ISAAA).