Genetic transformation of crop plants: Risks andopportunities for the rural poor uri icon

abstract

  • The world population is increasing at an alarming rate and is expected to increase from 6.5 billion at present to 7.5 billion by 2025. Most of this population lives in the rural areas in the developing countries where poverty, food insecurity and nutritional deficiencies are the major problems. Low crop productivity, limited use of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides and losses due to biotic and abiotic stress factors are a major constraint to increase production and productivity of crops. With the advent of genetic engineering, it has become possible to clone and insert genes into the crop plants to confer resistance to insect pests and improve the nutritional quality. Genetically transformed crops with Bacillus thuringiensis and herbicide resistance genes have been deployed for cultivation in USA, Canada, China and Australia. However, very little has been done to use this technology for improving crop production in the harsh environments of the tropics, where the need for increasing food production is most urgent. However, there is a need to follow the biosafety regulations and a better presentation of the results to the general public for a rational deployment of the genetically transformed crops for improving the livelihoods of the rural poor

publication date

  • 2001