engineered crops could devastate Third World Agriculture
On the social level there is the concern that genetically engineered crops will displace crops grown naturally by farmers in Third World countries and in the process disrupt the lives of millions of poor people. In the US two biotechnology companies have produced vanilla from plant cell cultures in laboratories. The price of naturally produced vanilla is about $1,200 per pound. The biotechnology companies estimate that they can commercially produce genetically engineered vanilla for about ¡ê25 per pound. Such a development would wipe out the livelihood of about 100,000 farmers in Third World countries. 70,000 alone live in Madagascar.
Such developments would constitute a economic disaster for many Southern countries where biodiversity is already under severe strain. Similar research is under way to genetically engineer crops that are crucial to Third World economies. These include coffee, tobacco, cocoa, coconut, palm oil, sugar and ginseng. Genetically engineered varieties may thrive in temperate zones and thus ravage many Third World economies which are dependent on one or other of these commodities and have no fall-back industries capable of absorbing their redundant farmers. From my many years in the Philippines I know that the lives of millions of copra farmers would be devastated if coconuts oil was produced in temperate zones.
It is also important to state that there is very little transfer of genetic engineering technology from the transnational corporations to Third World countries. The World Bank Panel on Transgenic Crops concluded that technology transfer between transnational corporations and less developed countries were so rare that the examples they cited were exceptional .
articles under this topic:
Impact of Genetic Engineering on Farming
2001 by Team C0123260
The Legenders , RJC, Singapore