Biotechnology Could Solve Famine And Malnutrition

Dallas – The use of biotechnology to create genetically modified crops can meet the needs of a growing population, according to a new study by the National Center for Policy Analysis, especially as the world's population grows from six billion to approximately nine billion people this century.

"If the government removed bans and strict regulations on biotechnology, the world could produce more than enough food for the growing population to have minimally adequate diets," said NCPA Senior Fellow, H. Sterling Burnett.

The "precautionary principle" used by radical environmentalists to prevent the use of biotechnology, is based on the idea that precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

"This is just like saying 'better safe than sorry,'" Burnett said. "However, genetically modified crops are already in widespread use around the world and have been shown to have no harmful effects to date. They are already providing benefits to millions of people worldwide."

Golden rice, or rice genetically altered to contain beta carotene and new genes to overcome iron deficiency, is preventing thousands of cases of childhood blindness and reducing anemia, according to the NCPA study. 

Additionally, through genetic modification, crops can be altered to improve various crops' nutritional value and reduce the environmental impact of farming, which are very important factors as the population and demand for food grow, Burnett adds, noting the world will need to produce three times more food than is currently produced.

"Government regulations will only serve to stifle innovation and reduce the benefits of bioengineered crops," Burnett said. "The government should not limit access to biotechnology advances in the developing world, which is most in need of these agricultural breakthroughs."

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