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world hunger
vitamin a deficiency
harsh weather
medical bills
best solution
human beings
Next Breakthrough In Solving World Hunger
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Next Breakthrough In Solving World Hunger

World hunger seems to be a persistent problem that humans just cannot seem to solve. It has been the marvel of many scholars, all trying to establish its causes and systematically come up with a solution. It is pertinent to consider that the playing field has changed considerably with the discovery of genetic material and the onset of the green revolution. Now, scientists are able to alter the DNA sequence of plants and to give them favorable traits such as: increasing their yield, making them more resistant to disease and becoming more tolerant to harsh weather.

Golden rice is a recent breakthrough in the fight against world hunger. After careful examination of the costs of distributing golden rice, its effect on the environment and contribution to the economy, we undoubtedly reach the conclusion that golden rice is the best solution to world hunger that we have right now.

First, we examine the cost of distributing golden rice as a solution to world hunger. The cost of distributing golden rice has to be compared with the cost of not distributing the rice. If golden rice was given the green light and it was distributed to the farmers worldwide, it would undoubtedly find it’s way onto the plates of millions of people. Given that we have very little data on the long-term effects of golden rice, the fear of the possible cost of golden rice is indeed justified. If it proves to be harmful or fatal in the long-term, human beings would face a life filled with ailments and suffering. The cost would be high in terms of loss of life and the medical bills to treat the ailments brought about by the golden rice. This being said, it is important to keep in mind that those that would need the golden rice are presently suffering from starvation and vitamin A deficiency and therefore doomed to die anyway.

On the other hand, we have the option of banning the distribution of golden rice. First it is important to qualify why golden rice is not in any way harmful to human consumers. It may be argued that scientists have performed extensive research on the effects of golden rice and have found no negative effects of the golden rice. Research has been done to account for the skepticism towards golden rice. According to an article in the Risk Analysis journal, opposition to agro-food biotechnologies is attributed to the public’s misperception of risk and it is due in part to the manipulation of public opinion by the under-informed media. No scientific research has produced any results to indicate that golden rice is anything but beneficial.

The cost of not distributing golden rice is therefore the continuation of the widespread starvation and vitamin A deficiency (VAD) related ailments. Through a comparison of both costs, one undoubtedly lands to the conclusion that it would be foolish not to distribute golden rice.

Seeing as how man greatly depends on the environment, it is prudent to investigate the effect of golden rice on the environment. Golden rice has both positive and negative effects on the environment. The negative effects include the fact that golden rice could act as a weed to other plants. Due to its superior genetic constitution, it might strip the ground bare of essential minerals needed for growth and thus cause the deterioration of all other plant life around it. Golden rice might also negatively affect the environment because of its increased resistance to pests. It might kill off the pests but in so doing, it is interfering with the food chain. The pests were food to some organism, which in turn was food to another and so on. Without the pests, then all animals in this entangled web of dependence would without doubt be negatively affected. The Union of Concerned Scientists web page, gives an example of the effect of using a genetically modified corn crop, Bt corn. It was genetically modified to kill its pests but that same change caused the death of what is thought to be half the population of the monarch butterflies in the US.

Despite the myriad of the negative effects of golden rice to the environment, there exists some positive environmental effects of golden rice. Before we explore the benefits of golden rice to the environment, it is imperative to keep in mind what we would be trying to solve by using golden rice: human death from starvation. Surely, everyone agrees that human life is the most essential life form in the world and thus saving it should be top priority. The effects on animals should be secondary.

The positive effects include the fact that golden rice, due to its resistance to pests, would reduce the need for herbicides, whose use has been proven to cause respiratory problems in humans and animals as well as other complications in plants. Also, the fact that the majority of rice is usually grown in plantations, isolated from other plants, means that there will be minimal, if any, damage to plants. In addition to these measures, the governments of countries that allow genetically modified foods have policies in place to control the few negative effects of genetically modified food that finds its way into the country.

The use of golden rice as a tool to better the economy as opposed to other world hunger solutions needs to be examined. To do this, we will examine the shortcomings of the other solutions to world hunger in building the economies of developing countries and how golden rice would indeed be the only solution to world hunger that builds a country’s economy.

First, Opponents of golden rice, for the reasons stipulated, do not see golden rice as the solution to a stronger economy. After all, how can that which might possibly kill a nation be helpful in building the nation? They in turn, suggest other solutions to world hunger. These include: educating farmers in developing nations about better farming techniques, distributing seeds to farmers and they also suggest the creation of a more politically conducive environment in which economic growth can take place. Notice however, that none of these solutions come close to solving world hunger. A lot of finances would be needed to implement them. For example, money might be needed to purchase farm inputs and the seeds.

On the other hand, golden rice, which would be offered freely to farmers worldwide, is a feasible solution to world hunger. Farmers would enjoy the income received from selling the surplus and this would strengthen the local economy as a whole while feeding the people. With the supplemental income, farmers would be able to purchase the remaining 50%. It is clear cut that golden rice is the only solution to world hunger that we have, that can both feed the hungry while giving them a means to provide for themselves.

It can be summarily said that the hesitation in using golden rice is based on an misinformed fear of genetically modified food, a poorly done benefit-cost analysis on the effects of golden rice on the environment and a clear lack of understanding of the benefits of golden rice and the far-reaching effects those benefits have on the economies of the world.

As a consequence, the conclusion that Golden rice should be implemented as a solution to world hunger, demands more exploration of other genetically modified foods to supplement golden rice in solving world hunger.


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