SUMMARY

It is essential that we improve food production and distribution in order to feed and free from hunger a growing world population, while reducing environmental impacts and providing productive employment in low-income areas. This will require a proper and responsible utilization of scientific discoveries and new technologies. The developers and overseers of GM technology applied to plants and micro-organisms should make sure that their efforts address such needs.

Foods can be produced through the use of GM technology that are more nutritious, stable in storage, and in principle health promoting —bringing benefits to consumers in both industrialized and developing nations.

New public sector efforts are required for creating transgenic crops that benefit poor farmers in developing nations and improve their access to food through employment-intensive production of staples such as maize, rice, wheat, cassava, yams, sorghum, plantains and sweet potatoes. Cooperative efforts between the private and public sectors are needed to develop new transgenic crops that benefit consumers, especially in the developing world.

Concerted, organized efforts must be undertaken to investigate the potential environmental effects—both positive and negative—of GM technologies in their specific applications. These must be assessed against the background of effects from conventional agricultural technologies that are currently in use.



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OCR for page 1
TRANSGENIC PLANTS AND WORLD AGRICULTURE SUMMARY It is essential that we improve food production and distribution in order to feed and free from hunger a growing world population, while reducing environmental impacts and providing productive employment in low-income areas. This will require a proper and responsible utilization of scientific discoveries and new technologies. The developers and overseers of GM technology applied to plants and micro-organisms should make sure that their efforts address such needs. Foods can be produced through the use of GM technology that are more nutritious, stable in storage, and in principle health promoting —bringing benefits to consumers in both industrialized and developing nations. New public sector efforts are required for creating transgenic crops that benefit poor farmers in developing nations and improve their access to food through employment-intensive production of staples such as maize, rice, wheat, cassava, yams, sorghum, plantains and sweet potatoes. Cooperative efforts between the private and public sectors are needed to develop new transgenic crops that benefit consumers, especially in the developing world. Concerted, organized efforts must be undertaken to investigate the potential environmental effects—both positive and negative—of GM technologies in their specific applications. These must be assessed against the background of effects from conventional agricultural technologies that are currently in use.

OCR for page 1
TRANSGENIC PLANTS AND WORLD AGRICULTURE Public health regulatory systems need to be put in place in every country to identify and monitor any potential adverse human health effects of transgenic plants, as for any other new variety. Private corporations and research institutions should make arrangements to share GM technology, now held under strict patents and licensing agreements, with responsible scientists for use for hunger alleviation and to enhance food security in developing countries. In addition, special exemptions should be given to the world's poor farmers to protect them from inappropriate restrictions in propagating their crops.