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Genetically Modified Technology In The Agricultural Industry

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Genetically modified technology,which has received both embrace and critics from people, is the application of science which results in the creation of new and updated forms of an organism.This technology,in other circles,is known as genetic engineering or genetic manipulation.The genetic make up of the organism in its natural state is altered by the use of recombinant DNA technology. Eventually,new genes from different sources are added unto the genome of the organism,in some cases,some genes are being knocked out.The introduction of this new genes can be directed to a particular part of the organism’s DNA, or it is randomly inserted.Organisms which successfully pass through this technology are termed as genetically modified organisms.

In the agricultural industry,this technology has been used to produce crops which are larger in size,highly nutritious and have a long shelf life.Aside the agricultural sector,this technology have brought improvement in the field of medicine(use of gene therapy to combat genetic diseases and the production of vaccines), research, industrial biotechnology(enzyme production) and many more.Since the inception of this technology,a lot of backlash and controversies have been striving to bring an end to this technology.Whilst majority of farmers world wide praise this technology due to the economic benefits they procure, others who look beyond the view of economic benefits,despite the fact that this technology poses no health risk to humans, want to see this technology halted.It is on this note that I stand for the opinion that, genetically modified technology is good for Ghana’s technological advancement.

One advantage of genetically modified technology is that, it is economically efficient.Farmers in recent times always complain to the government about the need of pesticides, to curb the ever increasing menace pests are inflicting on their crops. Low yield in crop production due to pest attacks, are making farmers lose lots of money. These farmers are fathers and mothers who need to cater for their young ones as well as themselves.A ray of hope to this problem is the use of genetically modified technology,to make seeds which have been engineered to have genes for pest resistance.Critics may claim that the crop, which will turn out to be pest resistant can end up causing the extinction of some of these pest,since the new crop gene may be fatal to them.These critics whose views can be termed as myopic, don’t seem care about the well being of human life,but seem to focus the survival of some specie of animals.These same pests whose survival critics are concerned about are the same ones bringing low yield to farmers.

Genetically modified technology has come to save Ghana.With this technology, farmers in Ghana need not to worry about the harm pests will cause on their crops,since everything will be catered for by the new crop gene.With this new crop gene, plants would be spared their exposure to some these harmful pesticides,which are hazardous and make the soil unusable.This will in turn decrease the pressure farmers give to the government in their quest for pesticides,and also improve the yield of crops for these farmers.As the yield of crops are improved,their prices will subsequently be decreased because, low yield of crops leads to the prices of foods in the market being increased.Adapting this technology in Ghana will not only help farmers,but help the whole nation,as all and sundry will be able to afford foods sold on the market.Hence starvation can be avoided.

Another advantage worth noting is that,genetically modified technology can deal the issues of malnutrition in the country. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,for example,agree to the technology of genetically modifying rice,to decrease vitamin A deficiencies in the world(Martin Enserink,2008).Crops which lack essential vitamins and minerals can be engineered genetically to have what they lack.A section of the populace,who rely daily on rice and other cereals, are usually malnourished.A situation like this can be curbed by the use of plant genes which can synthesize these nutrients when inserted in to these crops. Doing this will make the people described above, receive nutrients from their diet. In the long run, this is going to increase the work force in the country,as many people will be saved from dying from malnutrition.GM technology benefits farmers by the production of “strong crops”.These strong crops are engineered to withstand extremes of weather conditions.It is just marvelous to think that with the help of this technology, foods can be made to grow in the desert.This shows that there can be the yield of good crops of high quality even when the crops are subjected to harsh conditions of weather, for growth.

With the increasing population in Ghana, farm lands will be occupied by infrastructure,all in the name of accommodation,in the years to come.This is going hamper the production of food production in the country. In a time like that, farmers would have to improvise by growing crops in locations which are not suitable for the growth of crops. For example, there has been the development of tomato which can thrive in salty soil.The only solution to the situation farmers will face in the near future, would be to resort to GM technology,which can be used to bring up crops which can withstand conditions which inhibit their growth.Hence, the growth of food in areas with little or no rainfall,and little soil, would be possible.An advantage of this is that, little rainfall can reduce soil erosion and nutrient run off.Also, with crops being able grow at many areas(including those unsuitable for farming),oxyen availability in the environment will be increased,as there will be a proportional decrease in carbon dioxide in the environment.In effect, global warming, together with the emission of greenhouse gases, is going to decrease drastically.

Now considering a large population, budget for food resources would be easier due to GM technology.In the food science research field, GM technology is being used to used to eradicate allergens present in common foods(Crevel et al,2000).People suffering from celiac disease have a low range of foods to consume,due to the fact that most of these foods contain gluten.In effect, people such as these become malnourished.Some these allergies arise when individual consume foods which have been injected with preservatives,in order to increase the shelf life of these foods.

According to Bawa and Anilakumar, (2016),some of these preservatives are carcinogenic.Foods which are genetically modified, have a longer shelf life.An advantage of having foods with longer shelf life,is the ease to transport these foods to longer distances(especially communities which have food shortage due to their poor road network).There is no need for preservatives in GM foods to maintain their freshness.GM technology can be used to reduce allergic reactions induced in some individuals when they consume certain foods, with harmful preservatives.Lastly, the pharmaceutical industry has also seen improvement with the help of GM technology.Initially the cost of production of vaccines and medicine were so high, due to the requirement of special storage condition to preserve them after production. Cost of drugs deterred people from buying them,leading to a high number of death in individuals of under developed countries.GM technology comes to play by developing edible vaccines in tomatoes and other foods.Storage for these edible vaccines incur less cost,compared to injectable vaccines.

In conclusion,the introduction of GM technology in Ghana is beneficial for Ghana’s technological advancement.Despite the fact that this technology has ethical issues surrounding it,its benefits in the various sectors of the country are overwhelming.This technology has the potential of pushing Ghana to place where we need no foreign aid.GM technology benefits humans in terms of nutrition and vaccines,and also improves the yield and quality of crops grown in the country.Since accepting GM technology is a matter a choice,decisions should be in favour of its acceptance into the country,because of its ability to economically lift the country to a higher pedestal,thereby impacting the life of the citizens positively.

References:

  1. Bawa, A. S. and Anilakumar, K. R. (2016). “Genetically modified foods: safety, risks and public concerns– a review”. Journal of Food Science and Technology.
  2. Crevel, R.W.R; Kerkhoff, M.A.T; Koning, M.M.G. (2000). “Allergenicity of refined vegetable oils”. Food and Chemical Toxicology Martin Enserink.(2008).Tough Lessons from Golden Rice.Volume 320,pp.468-471

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