World hunger has improved over the year but the number those still without food is staggering and more needs to be done to combat the scourge of hunger in the world. But beyond man-made causes of hunger like war and corruption, there are natural causes that we can do very little about like drought and excess rain falls. These affect the size and quality of harvest over time making some people more hungry than others. But experts have argued that we could have adopted genetically modified food to solve this problem as side effects are minimal or non-existent in some cases and in some cases because understanding of the subject is still quite low, many don’t want anything to do with genetically modified foods. This could be why some supermarkets have display organic and non-organic labels on food items to give people a choice. But in this article, we will look at what the stats say and how world bodies like the United Nations are using genetically modified foods to combat hunger. This has in no doubt reduced the hunger figures but more needs to be done in educating the public on these foods.
As of 2021, the world hunger statistics are as follows:
- An estimated 690 million people, or about 9% of the global population, are undernourished.
- Most of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where about one in three people are undernourished.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, about one in four people are undernourished.
- In Asia, about one in five people are undernourished.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on food security, with an estimated 135 million more people facing acute hunger by the end of 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
It’s important to note that hunger is not only about the lack of food, it also can be driven by poverty, lack of access to education, and lack of access to healthcare. The UN agency responsible for fighting hunger, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that the number of people who suffer from hunger could be reduced by half if the root causes of poverty and inequality were effectively addressed.
These numbers are constantly being updated and it’s important to note that the numbers are estimates and the real numbers might be higher or lower. The fight against world hunger is a complex and ongoing issue, requiring a multifaceted approach that addresses the underlying causes of poverty and inequality.
Genetically modified (GM) food has been proposed as a potential solution to world hunger, as it has the potential to increase crop yields and improve the nutritional content of food.
One of the main benefits of GM crops is that they can be designed to be resistant to pests and diseases, which can significantly increase crop yields. For example, the use of GM cotton in India has been shown to increase yields by up to 50%. Additionally, GM crops can also be designed to be tolerant to environmental stressors such as drought, which can help to increase food security in regions that are prone to water scarcity.
Another potential benefit of GM food is that it can be designed to be more nutritious. For example, scientists have developed GM rice that is rich in Vitamin A, which could help to combat vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. Additionally, GM crops can also be engineered to produce more protein, which could help to address issues of malnutrition.
Despite the potential benefits of GM food, there are also concerns about its safety and impact on the environment. Some critics argue that GM crops can lead to the emergence of “superweeds” that are resistant to herbicides and can be difficult to control. Additionally, there are concerns about the potential for GM crops to cross-breed with wild relatives and create new hybrid species that could be harmful to the environment.
Another potential concern is that the widespread adoption of GM crops could lead to a loss of genetic diversity among crops, which could make them more vulnerable to disease and other stressors.
In conclusion, while GM food has the potential to help address issues of world hunger by increasing crop yields and improving the nutritional content of food, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits before widespread adoption. Further research is needed to understand the long-term impacts of GM crops and to ensure that they are safe for both human consumption and the environment.
Challenges with Genetically modified foods
The effects of genetically modified (GM) food on human health are a topic of ongoing debate and research.
Proponents of GM food argue that it is safe to eat and that there is no evidence to suggest that it is harmful to human health. They argue that the genetic modifications made to crops are similar to those that have occurred naturally over time through traditional breeding methods. Additionally, they argue that GM food is heavily regulated and that any potential risks are carefully evaluated before it is approved for consumption.
However, some critics argue that GM food could be harmful to human health in the long term. They argue that more research is needed to understand the potential risks and that there could be unintended consequences of consuming GM food. Some critics claim that there are health risks associated with consuming GM food, such as allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance and cancer. However, studies have not been able to demonstrate any clear link between GM foods and such health risks.
Additionally, the long-term effects of consuming GM food on human health are not yet known, and more research is needed to fully understand the potential risks. Some scientists advocate for more rigorous testing and labelling of GM food to ensure that consumers are aware of what they are eating and can make informed choices.
In conclusion, the effects of GM food on human health are a topic of ongoing debate and research. While many scientists argue that GM food is safe to eat, critics argue that more research is needed to fully understand the potential risks. It is important to consider both the potential benefits and risks of GM food, and to continue to monitor and research its effects on human health.
How World governing bodies like the UN view Genetically modified crops
The United Nations (UN) has recognized the potential of genetically modified (GM) crops to help fight world hunger. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has stated that GM crops could play an important role in helping to increase crop yields, improve food security, and reduce poverty in developing countries.
The UN has also been actively promoting the use of GM crops in developing countries. For example, in 2016, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) began using GM maize in its food assistance programs in Malawi, which helped to increase crop yields and improve food security for local communities.
Additionally, the UN has been working to address concerns about the safety and regulation of GM crops. The FAO has called for a science-based approach to the regulation of GM crops and has emphasised the importance of ensuring that GM crops are safe for human consumption and the environment. The FAO has also developed guidelines for the safe handling and transport of GM crops to help ensure that they are used responsibly.
The UN has also been working to increase public awareness and understanding of GM crops. For example, the FAO has been working to educate farmers and policymakers in developing countries about the potential benefits of GM crops and the importance of responsible regulation.
Lastly, the UN has recognized the potential of GM crops to help fight world hunger and has been actively promoting their use in developing countries. The UN has also been working to address concerns about the safety and regulation of GM crops, as well as increasing public awareness and understanding of the potential benefits of GM crops.