Is Europe’s Opposition to Genetically Modified Crops about Science or Economics?

Genetically modified crops are produced by using microorganisms to alter the natural composition of such plants. The aim of introducing genetic modification to crops is to enhance quality and quantity of agricultural productions. However, despite the good intentions behind the innovation, about thirty-six countries including Europe have banned the production of genetically modified crops.

According to BBC News, activists in Europe came out en masse sometimes in 2015 to oppose genetically modified crops. And this was neither the first nor the last demonstration against the introduction of genetically modified crops in recent times. Based on the interview with several individuals, we discovered that the reasons for the Europeans opposition to genetically modified crops are about the science behind the invention and its effects on the economy. Below are some of the scientific and economic reasons for

Scientific reasons behind Europe’s opposition to genetically modified crops

A lot of people expressed their concern about the effect of scientific interference in the cultivation of crops. Two of their concerns are as follows:

  • Fear of toxins in crops: Crops are genetically manipulated by microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria. And the truth is that most of those organisms might not be safe for consumption. So, Europeans are worried about eating toxins in genetically modified crops as a result of the microorganisms used in their production.
  • Elimination of favorite species: Several people are unconsciously used to the taste and look of some crops. Whereas, whenever a crop is genetically modified, there is a high risk of introducing a different flavour and structure to that particular species. And perhaps that is why you would buy some fruits and wonder why the taste is different from what you were used to. Additionally, further modification of such species would change everything about that particular crop. And in a few years, all the natural crops we grew up knowing would have been genetically modified without leaving a single trace of the species we used to love.

Economic reasons behind Europe’s opposition to genetically modified crops

The populace still went further to state the economic grounds for the disapproval. And some of them are explained below:

  • Increased cost of production: Genetically modified involves modifying the genes of a crop so as to have an altered species of the same crop. And, the process of gene modification is capital intensive. A lot of Europeans concluded that not all farmers would be able to afford the cost associated with genetically modified foods. And it implies that if genetically altered crops are accepted all over Europe, then small scale and non-funded farmers would soon be forced to stop farming because their products would rarely sell. The result would be that those cannot afford the high cost of production would be out of the farming business.
  • Decrease in sales: Europeans are concerned about how the production of genetically modified crops alongside naturally grown crops would affect sales of agricultural products. Most farmers who prefer the natural way of farming believe that after some time, they will not be able to produce as many natural crops as genetically modified crops. And the challenge here is that the consumers would go for the fruits that are readily available for their use especially the bulk buyers. So for natural crop farmers, this would mean a decrease in sales for them. And because their crops have not been modified to stay fresh and nonperishable for a longer period, they would be subjected to spoilage and massive loss.

Bottom Line

The reasons for Europe’s opposition to genetically modified crops are the same as those of the other countries. It shows that several Europeans and those in the other opposing countries understand the concept behind genetically modified crops. And as in every situation, they have weighed its pros and cons. And in their opinion, the risk of accepting genetically modified crops far outweighs its benefits.

Photo Credit: Thebreakingtimes