• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12

Should Zambia and other nations accept genetically modified food aid to prevent their populations from starving? What alternatives are there?

Extracts from this document...


SIMUKAI TINHU 2002-2003 ESSAY ASSIGNMENT (19-05-2003) FOR FAMINE AND FOOD SECURITY (PIED 5240) ESSAY TITLE : Should Zambia and other nations accept genetically modified food aid to prevent their populations from starving? What alternatives are there? Dr David Hall-Matthews -Institute of Politics and International Studies-University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. Introduction Zambia is currently facing a food crisis that threatens the lives of more than 2 million people. Despite pressure from formidable opponents such as the United States, the Zambian government has said 'no' to genetically modified foods. A number of countries in the region such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania had taken the same stance but they later reversed the decisions. Speaking to the Zambian Delegate sent to the United States by President Mwanawasa on a mission to assess the benefits of genetically modified foods (GMFs), Charles Benbrook of the North-West Science and Environmental Policy Centre, urged Zambia and other developing countries to reject GM foods since they pose a number of problems that range from health to environmental. These fears have been expressed by a number of scientists, organisations and also European Union governments. Sharma argues that the notion that GM foods will increase world food stocks which in turn ends hunger is based on the wrong assumption that hunger in the world is the product of shortage of food (Sharma 2000:01).This argument is supported by Phillip, 'If the food that is currently available is to be evenly distributed among the 6.4 billion people on the planet, there would still be surplus left over to feed 800 million more' (Phillip in Almas 1999:15). ...read more.


The monopolisation of food production means that poor countries such as Zambia would become dependent on the decisions of a few companies in the North (Antoniou 2000:63). Food is an important commodity .By importing GM food poor nations of Africa will end up being dependent on the North for the supply of food products. 'This will mean a shift of political power from governments of Zambia and other developing countries to the Department of Agriculture in the US or US Aid'(Almas 1999:19). The gap between the poor nations and the rich will be widened as developing countries due to their dependency on GM foods will now have to use up to 80% of their little income to import food from developed nations. Rosset argues that GM foods do not end food insecurity in developing countries because there is no relationship between the prevalence of hunger in a given country and its population (Rosset 2000:55). 'For every densely populated and hungry nation like Bangladesh or Haiti, there is a sparsely populated and hungry nation like Brazil or Indonesia' (Altieri 2003:01).The world today produces more food per inhabitant than ever before. The real causes of hunger are poverty, inequality and lack of access. Too many people are too poor to purchase the food that is available. Even if the governments of poor countries are given the GM food their populations will continue to be hungry as along as they do not have the income to purchase the food. As Sharma bluntly expressed it, the problem therefore, 'is not distribution but clearly of access and distribution. ...read more.


As it has been illustrated above the primary difficulty of this new kind of food is the risks that it poses .These include risks to the individuals, risks to the agricultural industry or risks to the environment. Societal actors are therefore divided over how to proceed. Politicians in poor nations such as Zambia are entering areas where they must set regulatory guidelines that ban the GM food products in a nation that is starving. This is not acceptable to the Northern countries such as the United States. As has been seen above there are a number of alternatives to GM crops. Hunger and food insecurity in poor countries, as noted is not a product of food shortage but little political will. Most importantly effective distribution and an efficient food market in the Third World will go a long way in alleviating the problems of hunger. More research has to be done on the potential risks of GM foods and how they can be reduced if the multinational corporations are to succeed in persuading the poor nations to accept their products. Also for successful integration, the biotechnology industry will rely on a careful balance between the potential of economic benefits to the poor nations and also the rich nations. As long as GM foods are viewed as having the potential to divide the world into potential winners and losers it will be difficult to persuade the poor nations to integrate the technology. If the above issues are not addressed, 'the GM foods will take us down a dangerous path, creating the classic conditions for hunger, poverty and even famine' (Letourneau 2002:62). Also Kendall concluded that, 'the GM foods are irrelevant to ending hunger and in fact are likely to increase poverty' (Kendall 1997:78). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Food Technology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Food Technology essays

  1. Persuasive Speech On Benefits Of Genetically Modified Foods

    Genetically Modified Foods will improve the yield from crops under existing conditions and will also help is to overcome the effects of El Nino and global warming. Areas that could previously produce major food stocks have become less reliable over the past decade.

  2. Free essay

    An Investigation into Convenience Foods

    ingredients but it doesn't taste as good as the prepared spaghetti Bolognese with much more ingredients in it Evaluation of my dishes These are the two dishes I prepared both meals look delicious but they might taste different due to the ingredients used the method which was used to prepare

  1. Malnutrition in developed and developing countries.

    Many food companies exploit the human inclination towards fatty and sugary foods by offering consumers cheap and often nutritionally empty products. Compounded with their reduced physical activity and greater meat consumption, these people, the overweight and obese, are a fast -growing segment in the world's population.

  2. Nutrition and Food Hygiene

    This fruits were for one day Emma's one day diet: Days of the week Breakfast Launch Dinner Others Tuesday Tea with sugar - 150 g, Toast and butter, Ribena, undiluted -128g, Chips, French fries - 120 g Pizza, cheese and tomato - 100g Mashed potatoes with butter - 100g, Chicken

  1. These genetically modified plants are used as medicines and vaccines, foods and food ingredients, ...

    How do I know what I am eating? The UK Government, together with industry, is attempting to produce better labelling of food- so that consumers know precisely what they are buying, be it in a supermarket or restaurant. The current rules state that GM food has to be labelled unless

  2. Fast-food Industry Analysis

    For example, many fast food companies have now introduced The Bax (R) system, a genetics-based screening method that quickly screens for food borne pathogens (PR Newswire, Mar 31, 2003). In addition to being very cost effective, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  1. Should all farming be Organic?

    Weed raking involves dragging a piece of machinery that acts like a rake that is dragged between the rows of the crops. This will disturb the nests and possibly break the eggs of the ground nesting birds. (3) Yields on organic farms averaged as suspected lower than on conventional farms by on average 20%.

  2. The purpose of this report is to see whether there is a future in ...

    natural resources; * Economic prosperity through sustainable farming, fishing, food, water and other industries that meet consumers' requirements; * Thriving economies and communities in rural areas and countryside for all to enjoy. Objectives * To protect and improve the rural, urban, marine and global environment and to lead integration of these with other policies across Government and internationally.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work