If GM foods were a magical solution, why does the World Food Programme continue to say it would be difficult? Is it because of the gap between needs and funding? Or is it because of the impact of crop failures and gender-based violence? In fact, both the food shortage and gender-based violence are linked to food insecurity, making it vital to find a sustainable solution.
GM foods can be relied upon as a magical solution
GM foods have the potential to solve many global problems. They are not only cost-efficient, but also reduce dependence on synthetic pesticides and herbicides. But there are controversies and complexities surrounding these crops. Inequity is a major cause of world hunger, and poor distribution of quality food is a contributing factor. Malnutrition is a widespread problem, and is linked to many factors, including armed conflict and natural disasters.
While there is no evidence that GM foods cause any type of allergy, there are other methods of genetically altering food. For example, increased use of pesticides in Roundup Ready crops is a known concern. These pesticides may have unknown health effects on humans. Genetically modified foods should be clearly labeled, as they do carry health risks. However, these foods are not yet ready to be sold as a magic solution.
Gap between needs and funding
Despite the efforts of humanitarian agencies, the gap between needs and funding continues to widen, leaving many populations without support. To effectively address this gap, humanitarian donors and countries must increase their funding, engagement, and commitment. The gap will widen if advanced economies do not increase their contributions. In particular, Australia and the UK should increase their funding to meet the needs of their citizens in the affected countries.
The WFP is seeking $426 million from donors to expand emergency food assistance response. The organization is the largest humanitarian organization in the world and was recently named a 2020 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Its mission is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition, while building pathways to peace, stability, and prosperity. However, this request isn’t easy to meet. The gap between needs and funding for the UN World Food Programme is too wide.
Impacts of crop failures
Crop failures have negative impacts on the economy from many different angles. Crop farming is the backbone of the economy in developing nations, and the loss of crops leads to higher government expenditure and surplus food imports. Loss of livestock and agro-based industries also harm the economy, as the government will have no sources of income. Consequently, there is a need for the government to act to minimize the impacts of crop failures.
Crop yields have decreased by four percent globally since 1981 due to human-induced warming. Other crops such as millet and sorghum have been reduced by up to 15 per cent due to rising temperatures. The resulting lack of food supplies is already affecting the nutritional value of many basic foods. Rising temperatures also lower protein levels. The result is that up to 150 million people may suffer from protein deficiency within their lifetimes. Even worse, the loss of rice production in India will slash the crop yield by up to 40 per cent.
Impacts of gender-based violence
In a CGIAR webinar, gender expert Dr. Renee Bullock described the challenges facing the South Kivu region of DRC, which has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world. In South Kivu, the economy is precarious, with very limited employment opportunities for women. After years of civil war, the economy has become weak but is still motivated by the lucrative trade in precious minerals.
As a result of violence, women are often driven further away from the workforce. It also negatively affects their productivity. Moreover, victims of gender-based violence often are unable to stay in their homes. Consequently, these victims require services such as shelters. In Europe, shelter services are available in some countries, but there are not enough shelters for abused women or children. The effects of gender-based violence on food security are profound.