The debate over the use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food production, contains many sides and perspectives — all argued passionately by their advocates. With a food-secure future being far from certain, it is a debate that can have far-reaching impacts on the development space. However, we now examine arguments from those who strongly oppose GMOs in the development sector, and explore why they do not believe the use of GMOs are as inevitable as some scientists believe.

Within the development sector, Greenpeace and Fairtrade International are the leading voices opposing GMOs. The arguments of both Greenpeace and Fairtrade against GMOs are similar — the risks that GMOs pose are still unknown, and they may have unforeseeable environmental, social, and health impacts.

More recent science can both sway for and against GMOs — depending on the research quoted. While the pro-GMO side quotes research showing no evidence of human health impacts, the anti-GMO side looks at evidence of environmental impacts from increased use of herbicide for GMO crops — primarily the impact of pesticide-resistant crops produced by for-profit corporations.

There is a strong argument from both anti-GMO and pro-GMO campaigners that solutions to food security need to encompass a range of new options, including improving soil conditions, changing farming practices to reduce waste, and encouraging diversity in crops grown for better nutrition options. But while many scientists in this field believe GMO should be part of the solution, Greenpeace and Fairtrade currently do not.

Despite strong opposition to GE crops, there are a number of donors investigating the role GMOs could play in creating a food-secure future, especially in developing countries.

Read the full article about opposition to GMOs by Lisa Cornish at Devex.