GM crops are gaining popularity due to its positive role in reducing carbon emissions, using less crop inputs and saving natural resources in agriculture. Unpublished results from a recent survey by the Center for Food Integrity suggest that millennials and Gen Z perceive agricultural technology as offering powerful solutions to humanity’s problems. They are more accepting of it than their older counterparts.
Younger adults are more inclined towards positive effects from genetically modified foods. A third believe that such foods will make food more affordable, while a third says they will enhance the global food supply.
Around the world, farmers are able to reap more from each harvest, as they need less fertilizers, pesticides, and other inputs to achieve higher yields. Farmers with both large and small operations benefit from these advances. Growing brinjal (eggplant) that is genetically modified to resist the destructive fruit and shoot borer reduced smallholder farmers’ pesticide use by more than half in Bangladesh and multiplied their profits six-fold. Since 1996, the adoption of biotechnology has increased 112-fold, making it the fastest-growing crop technology in the world. In 2019, there were 190.4 million hectares of GM crops grown in 29 countries, 56 percent of which included developing nations.
Europeans may be perceived as staunch anti-GMOs, but their concern for GMOs has declined from 66 percent in 2010 to as low as 27 percent in 2019. For countries impacted by European NGOs and their policies that prevent farmers from accessing the benefits of genetically modified crops, that shift in sentiment is nothing short of good news.
To feed the world’s 9 billion citizens by 2050, agriculture will need to boost crop production by 70 percent. While doing so, agriculture will also have to drastically reduce its carbon footprint. Globally, topsoil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen emissions, and deforestation caused by farming are currently 50 percent, 33 percent, 75 percent, and 80 percent, respectively. The use of biotechnology in agriculture can shrink agricultural footprints while producing abundant and nutritious food. Using today’s tools will help save the planet’s future. The favorable opinion of youth in agriculture should bring GMOs and other technologies in a much more accepting situation than earlier. Today’s youth understand the significance of technology on the farm and have witnessed how innovative solutions can benefit the farmers and reduce their hardships. On top of it, the Indian population consists of a majority of the young crowd who come from an agricultural background. The nurturing of the youth to adopt biotech food can bring about sustainable changes in the Indian agricultural sector, especially when a majority of youth is realizing the significance of GMOs in agriculture. It will certainly create revolutionary progress in the way India can tackle food problems by 2050.