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How Do We Feed The Growing Human Population Without Depleting The Environment

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According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. That’s two billion extra mouths to feed. If we want to avoid mass malnutrition, farmers will have to increase food production by 70% by 2050 (Isaacson 2015). Unfortunately, agriculture is already putting a strain on our limited natural resources. Humanity, thus, has a dilemma to solve: how do we feed the growing human population without depleting the natural resources and destroying the environment? The answer: genetically modified crops. Since its conception, genetic modification (GM) technology has rapidly advanced, and now scientists can breed super crops that are resistant to pests, diseases, and…show more content…
A more effective solution to the issue of food shortage is to use genetic improvement of crops.
GM crops have the potential to feed the growing population without requiring more land and an unsustainable increase of agricultural inputs. First, GM foods can be modified to have increased crop-yield per acre, which allows farmers to grow a lot more food in less space and decreases the need to find more arable land. Between 1996-2012, there was an increase of more than 370 million tons of food crop, and GM crops in the U.S. accounted for one seventh of the increased yield; without GM crops, “an addition of more than 300 million acres of conventional crop would have been needed” (Zhang 2016), and these 300 million acres would have also required more resources like fertilizer and irrigation (Zhang 2016). Based on these figures, it’s clear that with GM technology, farmers can plant crops that produce much higher yields than conventional crops, which in turn increases the global food supply.
Some opponents of GM crops advocate for conventional breeding as a method to produce new crop strains with higher yields per acre. However, the timeline to naturally develop a new strain through conventional breeding can take decades (Zhang 2016). Thus, natural breeding as a way to increase crop yield per acre is too slow to address the current problem of world hunger. GM crops can solve
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