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The development of agri-businesses may be creating more problems than it is solving. Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Pg 2 Introduction Pg 2 Table of biases Pg 3 When and why Gm crops have been developed, plus the main organisations involved Pg 4 Top 10 agrochemical companies, countries pro and anti GM Pg 5 Map of the world showing the main crops grown and where abouts they are grown Pg 6 Who really benefits from GM, Socio-economic factors Pg 7 Socio-economic factors continued, Environmental factors Pg 8 Environmental factors Pg 9 Environmental factors continued, Health factors and Consumer choice Pg 10 Consumer choice continued Pg 10 Future Pg 10 & 11 Conclusion Pg 12 Bibliography The Agribusiness sector is a 'chain' of industries directly and indirectly involved in production, transformation and provision of food, fibre, chemicals and pharmaceutical substrates. One issue governments are resolving at the moment is the issue of GM crops, they are the new expression of agri-business and this is the issue I shall look at. GM crops represent one of the biggest decisions the government faces. They signal an irreversible shift in farming and could determine what happens to food production patterns. GM is a technique whereby individual genes are copied and transferred to another living organism to alter its genetic make up thus incorporating or deleting specific characteristics of the organism. ...read more.

Middle

Economic benefits from GM crops are shared between the farming community, the technology providers, seed companies, food producers and the consumer. The indirect benefits for society and the environment flow from more affordable, sustainable, environmentally friendly methods of food production. AGAINST: It is chiefly the GM companies who gain from GM and some producers. GM brings hardly any benefits to consumers, or to most farmers. In the long term the costs of GM, especially to the environment will far outweigh any benefits. Below you can see tables showing the potential opportunities (pro) and risks (anti) of GM crops in developing countries. Socio-economic Pro GM - the opportunities Anti GM - the risks Higher agricultural yields and labour productivity. Corporate control is increased over seed and agro-chemical markets (through patenting, monopoly production), at the expense of poor farmers. Increased farm income, given appropriate market conditions. GM varieties extend the range of crops that can be produced in northern temperate zones and these substitute for developing-country export products. Reduced costs for producers, e.g. from reduced dependency on external inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides, and increased effectiveness of herbicides. GM crops are introduced faster than the development of the regulatory capacity in developing countries. Cheaper products for consumers, e.g. jeans made from self-dying blue cotton. Potential opportunities by-pass smaller farmers, due to lack of investment in research on relevant crops/applications. ...read more.

Conclusion

ronmental worse economically they would be no use to anyone. Health Pro GM - the opportunities Anti GM - the risks Elimination of allergens and toxic substances in crops Increased allergens - in 1996 a brazil nut gene was spliced into soybeans which could lead to potentially fatal consequences in people allergic to nuts Production of vaccines e.g. the edible vaccine against Hepatitis B in a GM sweet potato. Antibiotics rendered ineffective and viruses spread across species (e.g. from plants to human gut bacteria) Foods will be healthier (oils with lower saturated fat), more nutritious (high fibre corn) and even safer (less pesticides and insecticides) Studies found that beneficial phytoestrogen compounds thought to protect against heart disease and cancer were lower in GM soybeans than in traditional strains. In poor, malnourished countries genes that produce needed vitamins and mineral can be added to the staple crop e.g. the "Golden rice", this adds vitamin A to the grain and could cure the vitamin A deficiency of 124 million children worldwide, a deficiency causing blindness. The health opportunities far out weigh the risks that GM cause on peoples health, however the long term consequences to people are yet to be discovered as GM is such a new technology. Consumer choice Pro GM - the opportunities Anti GM - the risks Improved quality and shelf-life of fruit and vegetables. ...read more.

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