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Genetically Modified Crops


... Genetic Modification? What crops are produced through Genetic Modification? ... Access is determined by household's endowments (land, labor, capital and other ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically Modified Crops
  • Juan D. Taboada Paulo Serna Tomas Bulka
    Nazli Zooleh

  • Introduction (Technical Description).
  • Case Study Sustainable Agriculture in Zambia.
  • Ethical Issues.
  • Ethical Analysis.
  • Conclusions.

FAQ, GM Crops
  • What is Sustainable Agriculture?
  • What are Genetically Modified Organisms?
  • What is the purpose for Genetic Modification?
  • What crops are produced through Genetic
  • What are the benefits of Genetic Modification?
  • What are the disadvantages of Genetic

What is Sustainable Agriculture?
  • The term sustainable agriculture means an
  • system of plant and animal production practices
    having a
  • site-specific application.
  • Sustainable agriculture integrates three main
  • environmental health, economic profitability, and
  • and economic equity.

What are Genetically Modified Organisms?
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are
    organisms whose genetic material has been
    artificially changed to enable them to perform
    functions that they would not normally do
    naturally. A genetically modified (GM) tomato,
    for example, is one whose genetic makeup has been
    altered through the insertion of a gene of a fish
    that lives in very cold water to enable it (the
    GM tomato) to survive cooler temperatures.
  • How a plant is genetically modified

What is the purpose for Genetic Modification?
  • Genetically Modified Crops are made for many
    different purposes, the main one being to create
    a food able to survive being sprayed with harmful
    chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.Other
    purposes are to make food stay fresher for
    longer, to kill pests, to produce more of the
    crop and to experiment with taste and quality.

What crops are produced through Genetic
  • The first genetically modified crops to be sold
    in the USA were tomatoes, which were modified so
    they wouldn't go soft so quickly, then Soya beans
    and oilseed rape, which gives margarine and oils.
    They were modified to survive certain herbicides
    and weed-killers, then maize and cotton were
    modified to carry a poison that kills pests and
    protects crops against damage. Potatoes were also
    some of the earliest vegetables to be modified.

Technical Data (1)
Technical Data (2)
What are the benefits of Genetic Modification? (1)
  • The agricultural process is kinder to the
    environment, by using less pesticides,
    fertilizers and water.
  • Gene technology is one of the best solutions to
    the problem of world hunger. It can increase
    production and lower the cost of food.
  • Gene modification can boost immunity and develop
    inbuilt vaccines for livestock and poultry.
  • Gene technology can remove lactose, so that
    lactose-intolerant people can eat dairy products.

What are the benefits of Genetic Modification? (2)
  • Crops could be grown in areas suffering from
    drought and salt.
  • GM crops are faster and cheaper.
  • Many vegetarians may find they are now able to
    consume products which have synthetic, rather
    than animal-based, origins.
  • G M Foods are sometimes thought as being more
    nutritious, tasting better and they keep longer.
  • Many people rely on genetically modified foods
    for medicines, for example insulin for diabetics.
  • Proven by research, GM Foods are safe.

What are the disadvantages of Genetic
Modification? (1)
  • Most food manufacturers are unable or unwilling
    to provide information on whether or not their
    products contain GM ingredients. This means you
    rarely know what you are eating.
  • GM crops can contaminate other crops simply by
    pollen being blown by wind from one field to
  • World starvation has more to do with wealth
    distribution rather than the inadequate
    production of foods.
  • Sometimes GM crops have allergenic effects.
  • Loss of nutritional value.
  • Reduction of the efficiency of antibiotics.
  • New viruses could evolve from the mass production
    of GM crops.
  • The more that gene technology is used, the worse
    the environment will become.

What are the disadvantages of Genetic
Modification? (2)
  • Pests may develop resistance to GM crops that
    have been designed to kill them.
  • Humans do not have the right to genetically alter
    nature for their own convenience and profit.
  • GM crops produce religious complications.
  • Vegetarians and Vegans may find it offensive to
    put animal genes into plants.
  • GM crops may cause harm to the wealth and welfare
    of animals.
  • Some countries will not be able to afford GM
  • GM crops may produce ecological side effects.
  • Too much money spent on Gene Technology could
    have been spent on other things.
  • No assurances of public liability for Farmers of
    GM crops.

Case Study
  • Zambia
  • Zambia faces the challenge of balancing
  • Short term food problems (droughts followed by
  • Long term agricultural problems (2 million
    Zambians at risk of famine)
  • Should the Zambian government allow the
    introduction of GM crops into the agricultural
    sector as an attempt to solve these problems?

Case Study
  • Zambia
  • Location S. Africa
  • Population 10.3 Million
  • Size Slightly larger than Texas
  • Climate Tropical rainy season (Oct.- Apr.)
  • Natural Hazards Periodic drought, tropical
  • storms (Nov.-Apr.)
  • Economic Growth Below the 5 to 7
  • necessary to reduce
  • poverty significantly
  • Population below poverty line 86 (1993)
  • Labor force 85 - Agriculture
  • 6 - Industry
  • 9 - Services
  • Unemployment rate 50 (2000 est.)

Case Study
  • Simply stated, the critical point of debate must
    be that the very serious problem of food
    consumption (the presence of hunger) must not be
    dealt with in ways that create even more serious
    problems of food production (the destruction of
    agricultural infrastructure).

Case Study
  • Proponents of genetically GM crops are presenting
    these crops as part of the key solutions to
    boosting and stabilizing rural incomes. They are
    also being offered as part of the answer to the
    national problem of food insecurity.
  • Opponents say that GM crops are likely to
    exacerbate the rural household food insecurity
    and further erode the little cash income which
    might be there.

Case Study
  • Food Security is access to all people at all time
    to enough food for an active and healthy life.
    Households will be food secure when the following
    conditions are met
  • First, enough food must be available in both
    quantity for adequate energy intake and diversity
    of food types (quality) for adequate intake of
    nutrients. These foods must also be culturally
  • Second, households must have access to these food
    supplies. Access is determined by households
    endowments (land, labor, capital and other
    resources) and how these are transformed into
    food entitlements which include the various means
    for procuring food.
  • Third, food supplies must be sustainable through
    seasons and over years.
  • Fourth, household food security (HFS) must be
    equitably distributed to ensure that the poor and
    vulnerable have secure access to the food they
  • Fifth, HFS is intricately tied to livelihood
    security, and is more likely to be achieved when
    livelihoods are sustainable.

Case Study
  • The push for the adoption of genetically modified
    (GM) crops in Zambia is posing a serious
    challenge to the present and future agricultural
    infrastructure of Zambia, with consequent danger
    to the viability of food production to meet the
    needs of its ten million population. GM crops
    might not improve sustainable agriculture.

Case Study
  • Sustainable agriculture is a food system that
  • (a) provides a reasonable rate of return to
    farmers, to sustain farm families, agricultural
    infrastructure, and rural communities
  • (b) assures a reasonable rate of return to
    public and private providers of farm inputs
    (seeds, fertilizers, etc.), information,
    services, and technologies
  • (c) preserves and generates soil, water, and
    biological resources upon which farming depends,
    and avoids adverse impacts on the natural
  • (d) increases productivity and per-hectare
    yields at least in step with the growth in
    demand and
  • (e) adheres to social norms and expectations in
    terms of fairness, equity, compliance with
    regulations, food safety, and ethical treatment
    of workers, animals, and other creatures sharing
    agricultural landscapes

Case Study
  • Questions to be addressed.
  • Does GMO complement conventional and organic
  • Would GM crops contribute to food security in
  • Does Genetic Modification increase productivity
    on existing fields?
  • Will the use of GM crops reduce the cost of
    inputs (such as insecticides and herbicides)?
  • Are there harmful effects from GM crops on
    humans, on animals or on the environment?
  • Have GM crops been adequately tested?

Professional IssuesAltered Crops
  • Does GM food even provide better yields and other
    benefits? Issue currently in dispute.
  • Cost and effectiveness of fertilizers and
    pesticides. May solve one problem, but introduce
  • Choosing between GM and natural seeds Payment
    of royalties for GM seeds. Balance between the
    right of farmers vs. companies rights
  • Dependency on other Countries

Legal IssuesAltered Crops
  • Patenting of GM crops
  • Farmers must pay to plant, replant or propagate
  • Benefits of GM crops overemphasized?
  • But more importantly, may cause harm to humans
    and animals! Leads to lawsuits.
  • Liability from use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Environmental Regulations for pesticides and

Ethical IssuesAltered Crops
  • Sustainability of agriculture/damage to the
    genetic code of critical species
  • Lowering the quality of genetic variation in
    crops? This leads to increased chance of crop
  • Do we want for profit companies protecting the
    genetic code of the very important crops we need
    for our survival?

Ethical IssuesAltered Crops
  • With genetic engineering, will the search for new
    wild crops stop?
  • Creating super crops using traits not normally
    seen in plants (using deep ocean fish genes in
    tomatoes to make them cold resistant)
  • Such actions may have unknown consequences on
    other forms of life.

StakeholdersAltered Crops
  • All humans we must eat!
  • Agricultural Companies (Monsanto, Dow
    AgroSciences etc.)
  • Farmers
  • Zambian Government
  • Other animals and plants and organisms
  • (except Kant, Aquinas, and Aristotle who think
    use of animals as a means ok)

Possible Actions
  • Do not use Altered Crops
  • Sticking to farmers and sustainable agriculture,
    and keep on consuming natural crops
  • Use Altered Crops
  • Forget about using natural crops produced by
    farmers and consume nothing but GM crops
  • Use Altered Crops along with unaltered ones
  • Make GM crops the main part of our daily diet,
    but at the same time allowing limitations in
    using GM crops by controlling how much herbicide
    is used

Ethical Analysis-Rights Perspective
  • Introduction of GM crops into Zambia will cause
    harm for farmers, by contaminating the organic
    crops and preventing the organic farmer from
    marketing his/her produce as organic.
  • Farmers have the right to get more quantity and
    healthier products from their crops.
  • Rights of the hungry to have access to food
  • ? Undecided

  • GM crops, favoring industrialized agricultures,
    will favor large farms and mechanization at the
    expense of smaller family farms.
  • This will, therefore, increase unemployment and
  • Ethical only if Zambia wants to increase
    unemployment among its population ? not ethical!

Utilitarian Perspective
  • Genetically modifying natural crops should
    benefit everyone, and not only those with the
    resources to capture the patents.
  • Not Ethical, Because its not benefiting the

Common Good Perspective
  • Genetically Modified crops do not satisfy/benefit
    the common good of the community, but only the
    ones who have control over releasing the GM
  • Not Ethical!

Virtues Perspective
  • Genetically Modifying crops do not develop values
    and virtues for the community as a whole.
  • Farmers will have to plant their own GM seed
    every year, and it will become an offence to
    replant your own GM seed.
  • Profit-seeking companies will result in the
    farmers losing their life-long right to keep and
    trade their seeds with neighbors.
  • Not Ethical!

Kantian Perspective
  • Companies Using Farmers as a means by spreading
    propaganda about GM crops
  • Obviously not Ethical!

  • The argument developed shows that the
    introduction of GM crops into Zambia is being
    pushed by a small minority of the population,
    without adequate account being taken of the
    dangerous implications for an infrastructure of
    sustainable agriculture.
  • Therefore, considering the fact that food
    security in Zambia for all Zambians needs
    sustainable agriculture, and since GMOs will have
    a negative impact on it, it should be stopped.