GM crops can be used to alter food production in a few different ways. The following list gives a brief outline of these:
- Increased yield – By increasing the yield of crops it means that in the same amount of space you are able to grow an increased yield of crops
- Resistance to herbicides and pesticides – The resistance to chemicals allows crops to be sprayed more effectively with pesticides and herbicides thus meaning the crops will be able to grow more effectively and that less will be spoilt whilst growing due to insects and competing plants. Both of these factors will result in an overall higher yield of usable crops
- Disease resistance – By making crops that are resistant to diseases you reduce the amount of effort needed to ensure that the crops stay healthy. Also you lose the risk of losing the majority of your yield if a disease sweeps through your crops and makes the plants all unusable.
- Environmental resilience – This will perhaps become the most important benefit we can experience from GM crops in future years as the effects of climate change are felt more prominently. As land and water scarcity increase we need to be able to ensure that we can still grow crops on the land which is available and thus the importance of being able to grow crops in harsher environments and with less water is undoubtedly going to become an invaluable tool in the future.
Whilst most of these factors would cause an overall decrease in the price of food production the overall impact on the price and availability of our food is not so clear. This is because currently there is so much public opposition to GM foods. Whilst increasing the quantity of GM crops planted you would likely be reducing the total number of non-GM crops produced. Thus the availability of non-GM foods would be reduced. In places where there are strict regulation against GM foods this could cause an increase in food prices and decrease in food supplies as there may only be GM alternatives available.