Despite opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a number of development donors are now openly investigating and funding research of the technology as a means to feed a growing population, increasing yields and responding to environmental challenges.
According to Devex, donors are pushing back against negative perceptions around GMOs after decades of silence. It cited the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as one of the prominent donors pushing forward with funding for innovative agricultural research, including pumping millions of dollars into GMO projects to help fight malnutrition and improve food security.
“We believe innovation has a role in the efforts to boost food security and build resilience to climate change, and that the millions of smallholder farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods should be able to choose from a full range of technologies what is best for them,” said Gina Ivey, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy for Agricultural Development with the Gates Foundation.
She said farmers in the poorest parts of the world face tremendous challenges related to unproductive soil, plant diseases, pests, and drought. These challenges are increasingly difficult to overcome because of the changing climate, preventing many farmers from growing enough food to provide for their families.
“We fund a range of different technologies, including conventional breeding and modern biotechnology, so farmers have the option to choose the solution that works best for them.”
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research is another donor furthering investment and opportunities in the adoption of GMOs in the developing world. Others are the United States Agency for International Development, United Kingdom Department for International Development and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), who are funding a range of initiatives supporting GMO adoption.