Introduction to Economic Implications

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Because biotechnology has introduced an entire new entity to the agricultural industry, of course it is going to have a significant impact on the economy. The main goal of all genetically modified food businesses, like Monsanto and Novartis, is to make money, understandably so. The discovery of biotechnology has forced farmers to perceive the economic aspects of agriculture differently than before. Both costs and benefits exist when analyzing the economic aspects of genetic modification.

It is more beneficial for farmers to harvest GM crops, from an economic stand- point, because more competition exists in this industry, which allows the produce to be more marketable. It is believed that most farmers obtain a much bigger harvest using the same amount of land when using the genetically modified seeds. This way, they waste fewer crops and profit more. The demand for food is high with the population exploding, so keeping up with the demand is another driving force for farmers to produce more. Not only do they produce more food by using GM seeds, farmers yield healthier crops. Another benefit to using GM seeds is a reduction in pesticide use because of herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant seeds. Again, this is only beneficial to farmers financially.

Over half of the soybeans in the United States are genetically modified. Soon all of the crops could be genetically altered which should create economic concerns for farmers. The biotechnology business is beginning to monopolize the agriculture industry at an alarming rate. Current GM farmers may be ahead now, but when every farmer is in the GM business that will no longer be the case. Also, the GM crops could fail or create unknown risks to human health. If farmers invest in transgenic crops and a major health threat is discovered, farmers will definitely loose money. People are already shopping for organic foods for health reasons. Another hurtful reason to use GM seeds is because GM seeds cost more than normal seeds. Yet, in most cases, farmers cannot sell these crops for more than regular crops. Although most farmers use fewer pesticides, some farmers experience an increase in pesticide use. Especially since more negative aspects could and probably do exist, they should be taken much more seriously. People need to ask themselves; will biotechnology benefit farmers or not?

Developing countries need to view the introduction of genetically modified seeds into their own agricultural practices very seriously. Third world countries, like Brazil, are currently unstable and these conditions could magnify negative aspects of GM plants. They need to be much more careful when deciding to practice GM food production. Developing nations would have a much more difficult time dealing with the problems that arise with GM food production than a developed nation would.

I. Overview of Agriculture Industry
II. Why GM Foods are Good
III. Why GM Foods are Bad
IV. Economic Concerns for Farmers

VI. How Will Biotech Affect Farmers in Developing Countries?
VII. An Overview of World Agricultural Trade

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