genetically-modified crops could make its way to europe soon amid restrictions as drought hits hard

The Global Drought Observatory reported early this year that Europe is recently experiencing one of the worst droughts in history. The report informs the public that the lack of rain and worsening heatwaves continue to dry up Europe starting last May. The weather condition was more aggravating in some European countries last August.

Drought Is Expected to Impact Europe’s Crop Supply

According to BBC, two-thirds of Europe is currently under drought alert, and this condition is deemed to be the ‘worst such event in 500 years.’ The drought is currently affecting vegetation and could soon largely impact much of Europe’s crop supply.

Currently, the drought has considerably lowered summer crop yield. Experts are contemplating a number of approaches to deal with an impending crop supply shortage. To avert a food crisis, lawmakers are considering relaxing restrictions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

A Wired report informs us that sunflower yields are down by 12%, while soybean yields are 15% below their five-year average. The war in Ukraine has already strained agricultural supply chains, making Europe’s food system’s slow collapse very apparent.

EU Lawmakers Eyes Relaxing Restrictions on GMO

To keep up with the rising demand for food, crop yields must be improved. In order to increase yield and build a tolerance to drought, new techniques are needed. One of these techniques is the introduction of drought-resistant crops that are developed through extensive research in biotechnology and gene-splicing,

A study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information informs us that genetically-modified Glycine max (soybean) and Zea mays (corn) developed to be drought-resistant are already available to the market despite continuous research.

European countries like France have not been especially open to adopting GMOs for their crops. Genetically-modified crops have long been viewed negatively by many countries in Europe because of the associations that focus on their risks.

The perceived risk of radioactivity, divided opinions among scientists, and strong-worded publications about moral acceptability are what spin the opinion barometer towards hostility to GMOs. Furthermore, the public perceives this product of biotechnology as an outgrowth of globalization and that its development could directly impact traditional green agriculture. These speculations from the European community have triggered lawmakers to bar the introduction of GMOs in Europe.

According to a publication by Sylvie Bonny of the National Institute of Agricultural Research in France, GMOs were perceived by the public as yet another sign of deterioration in the agricultural sector in terms of health and environmental risks.

In the same report mentioned in this article by Wired, Italian members of the European Parliament have called on backtracking of the rules that restrict the use of crops created using gene-editing, mentioning that “New agricultural biotechnology can provide experimentation for more drought- and pest-resistant plants.”

This statement by Italian legislator Antonio Tajani roused the support of other lawmakers in a meeting at the EU parliament.

A change in policy could be what Europe needs to survive the deadliest dry season in 500 years.

Keyword: Genetically-modified Crops Could Make Its Way to Europe Soon Amid Restrictions as Drought Hits Hard


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