We will all benefit now and in the future: from better and cheaper food and other plant products, an environment less damaged by agriculture, more wild and recreational land saved from the plough, and less poverty and food shortages in developing countries.

The first people obviously to benefit have been farmers because the new crops were developed in the main by seed-producing companies whose customers are farmers, not consumers. The benefits for farmers include some or all of lower labour costs (less work in spraying and pest control), reduced use of chemicals, savings on tractor and other machine usage (including fuel, maintenance and depreciation), less damage to soil from compaction and ploughing, all combined in some cases with increased yields and better quality products.

All the GM seeds cost more to buy, the financial benefits of using far outweigh that additional cost which is why the numbers of farmers using them has steadily been rising by 10-15%, year after year. The farmers know from experience how beneficial the new crops are. And, of course, they are able to sell the products or they would not continue to use GM.

Another issue is the growing world population, accompanied as it is by a steady reduction in arable land as increasing numbers of people build houses, factories and roads on what used to be farmland. Moreover, many people in the world are now undernourished and as people grow wealthier, there is a growing demand for more meat which means even more land. Coupled with all that is a developing shortage of fresh water and perhaps climate change as well.

There are no easy solutions to these very complex problems but it is clear that not only will we humans have to stop fighting wars, and improve our organisation and infrastructure, but we are going to need every bit of helpful technology we can find in order to overcome those massive problems.
Even in the rich countries, the price of food is an issue, especially for poorer people. If prices are high, people without much money tend to economise of fruits and vegetables so the cheaper and more accessible they are, the healthier is the population at large.


  questions & answers
 13. What are the real benefits? Who is benefiting and who will benefit?