Genetically modified and organic crops in developing countries: a review of options for food security

Hossein Azadi, Peter Ho
Biotechnology Advances 2010, 28 (1): 160-8
Since two decades ago, when the first GM crops were introduced, there have increasingly been hot debates on the applications of gene manipulation. Currently, the development of GM crop varieties has raised a wide range of new legal, ethical and economic questions in agriculture. There is a growing body of literature reflecting the socio-economic and environmental impacts of GM crops which aims to criticize their value for farming systems. While organic crops are promoted as environmentally-friendly products in developed countries, they have provoked great controversy in developing countries facing food security and a low agricultural productivity. Discussion has been especially vigorous when organic farming was introduced as an alternative method. There are in fact, a few tradeoffs in developing countries. On the one hand, farmers are encouraged to accept and implement GM crops because of their higher productivity, while on the other hand, organic farming is encouraged because of socio-economic and environmental considerations. A crucial question facing such countries is therefore, whether GM crops can co-exist with organic farming. This paper aims to review the main considerations and tradeoffs.

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