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A study on GM CROPS: HOPE, HYPE AND REALITY

MINI-PROJECT REPORT

SUBMITTED BY

ATHIRA ANAND BELLI P K


S2 MBA

UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF

Dr. Suresh Subramoniam


DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING TRIVANDRUM

Introduction
Although "biotechnology" and "genetic modification" commonly are used interchangeably, GM is a special set of technologies that alter the genetic makeup of organisms such as animals, plants, or bacteria. Biotechnology, a more general term, refers to using organisms or their components, such as enzymes, to make products that include wine, cheese, beer, and yogurt. Combining genes from different organisms is known as recombinant DNA technology, and the resulting organism is said to be "genetically modified," "genetically engineered," or "transgenic." GM products (current or those in development) include medicines and vaccines, foods and food ingredients, feeds, and fibers. Locating genes for important traitssuch as those conferring insect resistance or desired nutrientsis one of the most limiting steps in the process. However, genome sequencing and discovery programs for hundreds of organisms are generating detailed maps along with dataanalyzing technologies to understand and use them. In 2006, 252 million acres of transgenic crops were planted in 22 countries by 10.3 million farmers. The majority of these crops were herbicide- and insect-resistant soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and alfalfa. Other crops grown commercially or field-tested are a sweet potato resistant to a virus that could decimate most of the African harvest, rice with increased iron and vitamins that may alleviate chronic malnutrition in Asian countries, and a variety of plants able to survive weather extremes. On the horizon are bananas that produce human vaccines against infectious diseases such as hepatitis B; fish that mature more quickly; cows that are resistant to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease); fruit and nut trees that yield years earlier, and plants that produce new plastics with unique properties. In 2006, countries that grew 97% of the global transgenic crops were the United States (53%), Argentina (17%), Brazil (11%), Canada (6%), India (4%), China (3%), Paraguay (2%) and South Africa (1%). Although growth is expected to plateau in industrialized nations, it is increasing in developing countries. The next decade will see exponential progress in GM product development as researchers gain increasing and unprecedented access to genomic resources that are applicable to organisms beyond the scope of individual projects. Technologies for genetically modifying foods offer dramatic promise for meeting some of the 21st Century's greatest challenges. Like all new technologies, they also pose some risks, both known and unknown. Controversies surrounding GM foods and crops commonly focus on human and environmental safety, labelling and consumer choice, intellectual property rights, ethics, food security, poverty reduction, and environmental conservation (see GM Products: Benefits and Controversies, below).

GM Products: Benefits and Controversies


Benefits

Crops
o o o o o

Enhanced taste and quality Reduced maturation time Increased nutrients, yields, and stress tolerance Improved resistance to disease, pests, and herbicides New products and growing techniques

Animals
o o o

Increased resistance, productivity, hardiness, and feed efficiency Better yields of meat, eggs, and milk Improved animal health and diagnostic methods

Environment
o o o o o

"Friendly" bioherbicides and bioinsecticides Conservation of soil, water, and energy Bioprocessing for forestry products Better natural waste management More efficient processing

Society
o

Increased food security for growing populations

Controversies

Safety
o

Potential human health impacts, including allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance markers, unknown effects Potential environmental impacts, including: unintended transfer of transgenes through cross-pollination, unknown effects on other organisms (e.g., soil microbes), and loss of flora and fauna biodiversity

Access and Intellectual Property


o

Domination of world food production by a few companies

o o

Increasing dependence on industrialized nations by developing countries Biopiracy, or foreign exploitation of natural resources

Ethics
o o o o

Violation of natural organisms' intrinsic values Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species Objections to consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa Stress for animal

Labeling
o o

Not mandatory in some countries (e.g., United States) Mixing GM crops with non-GM products confounds labeling attempts

RELEVANCE OF STUDY
The introduction of GM crops came recently, not even the scientists knows the impact of the same on living beings In such a case, is GM a necessity for developing countries The demerits outweighs the merit of GM crops, So does India really need to experiment it We aim to find out whether people prefer to buy GM products or unmodified products Is GM only the solution of food scarcity?

Objectives
To find out the preference of people for GM products To find out whether there will be demand for the GM products if it is introduced in the market To find out whether India needs GM products as an alternative to food scarcity

To find out whether people are ready to buy GM products if they are proven to be more nutritious than unmodified crops?

Defining the problem


Even if GM crops have more merits, the unknown harm done by them in the longer period makes the people not to go for GM products India is a rich country in natural resources, so it is possible for India to find alternatives for food scarcity Farmers think that GM crops is giant MNC initiative and hence they are in the prior steps to monopolize the agriculture sector of developing countries

Research hypothesis
1. There is association between observed opinion about GM crops are considered as an alternative to food scarcity 2. There is no significant difference between age groups and the opinion about awareness of GM crops 3. There is no similarity between the opinion about the risk factor for consumers of GM products 4. There is no association between the opinion between the opinion about the availability of GM crops in market 5. There is no association between the opinion about GM crops is proven to be better than the normal crops

Research methodology
Adopted Non-probability sampling (judgmental sampling). SAMPLE SIZE

25respondents are chosen as a sample size for the study. DATA COLLECTION Target Audience: potential customers in CET campus, Sreekaryam, Trivandrum Area of Study: CET campus, Sreekaryam region.

Statistical tools applied: Chi square

LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
It was difficult to define the population in a particular place. 50 respondents cannot represent the population, as a whole. So the findings may be biased. Time plays a havoc role in data collection. So, the sample is restricted to 50. Chances of biased responses from the customers

Literature review
The issues involved in the production, regulation and marketing of GM foods are complex. Positions are polarized. There are those who believe that modern biotechnology has provided and will provide significant benefits for both farmers and consumers. They are opposed by those who hold that it is only the inventors of genetically modified products who are likely to benefit significantly, while the population as a whole may have to bear unacceptable risks to health and the environment. There are also sharp differences of opinion concerning the implications of agricultural biotechnology for developing countries. Some see it as a means of considerably enhancing food supplies in vulnerable regions of the world, while others fear that it will lead to the exploitation of both growers and consumers in impoverished countries. (Review of the project "Reconvening the lay peoples panel on GM food 4 years after" (2000)) The plant biotechnology products now under development will present a wider range of novel traits and will be more complex than the current products. The GM foods commercialized to date involve primarily single-gene insertions, whereas the products being developed involve the introduction of multi-gene traits that either produce entirely new metabolic pathways or significantly alter existing ones. This will make the prediction and assessment of side effects more difficult. (Rules agreed over GM food exports, Vol 402, p 473, Feb 2000) The possibility of using food crops as plant factories for the production of industrial or pharmaceutical compounds raises additional issues related to the ability to maintain adequate segregation throughout the production chain to ensure that these products do not enter the human or livestock food chains. This raises questions whether or not such plants should ever be grown outside contained facilities and whether or not segregation systems can effectively ensure adequate separation. (India intends to reap the full commercial benefits (Nature, Vol 402, pp 342-343, Nov 1999)) The introduction of GM crops has resulted in direct economic benefits to the developers of the GM plants and to the farmers growing them, the latter estimated to be in the order of US$700 million in 1999.36 However, direct economic benefits to consumers in the developed world have been much less obvious. This may account for a tendency in the public at large to focus on

potential harms. (GM crops: public perception and scientific solutions (Trends in Plant Science, Vol 4, No 12, pp 467-469, Dec 1999))

Analysis and interpretation


Testing of hypothesis Hypothesis 1 H0 : There is no similarity between the opinion about the risk factor for consumers of GM products H1 : There is similarity between the opinion about the risk factor for consumers of GM products Response Strongly agree O E (O E) 2 (O E ) 2 E 1 2 Somewhat agree 3 Disagree 1 Strongly disagree 5 Neutral 4 5 5 5 5 5 49 4 16 0 1 9.8 0.8 3.2 0 0.2 14

Degree of freedom = n-1 = 5-1 = 4 Level of significance = 5% Table value = 9.488 Calculated value is greater than tabulated value, hence null hypothesis is rejected Accept alternate hypothesis H1 : There is similarity between the opinion about the risk factor for consumers of GM products

Hypothesis 2 H0 : there is no association between the opinion about GM crops is proven to be better than normal crops H1 : there is association between the opinion about GM crops is proven to be better than normal crops Response Strongly agree O 1 E (O E) 2 (O E ) 2 5 64 E 12.8

3 Somewhat agree 6 Disagree 4 Strongly disagree 2 Neutral 0

5 5 5 5

1 1 9 25

0.2 0.2 1.8 5 20

Degree of freedom = n-1 = 5-1 = 4 Level of significance = 5% Table value = 9.488 Calculated value is greater than tabulated value, hence null hypothesis is rejected Accept alternate hypothesis H1 : there is association between the opinion about GM crops is proven to be better than normal crops

Hypothesis 3 H0 : there is no association between the opinion about the availability of GM crops in market H1 : there is association between the opinion about the availability of GM crops in market Response Strongly agree Somewhat agree Disagree Strongly disagree Neutral O E (O E) 2 (O E ) 2 9 6 8 1 1 5 5 5 5 5 16 1 9 16 16 E 3.2 0.2 1.8 3.2 3.2 11.6

Degree of freedom = n-1 = 5-1 = 4 Level of significance = 5% Table value = 9.488 Calculated value is greater than tabulated value, hence null hypothesis is rejected Accept alternate hypothesis H1 : there is association between the opinion about the availability of GM crops in market

Hypothesis 4 H0 : there is association between the opinion that GM crops are considered as an alternative to food scarcity H1 : there is no association between the opinion that GM crops are considered as an alternative to food scarcity Response Strongly agree O E (O E) 2 (O E ) 2 E 1 1 Somewhat agree 5 Disagree 5 Strongly disagree 3 Neutral 1 5 5 5 5 5 36 0 0 4 16 7.2 0 0 0.8 3.2 11.2

Degree of freedom = n-1 = 5-1 = 4 Level of significance = 5% Table value = 9.488 Calculated value is greater than tabulated value, hence null hypothesis is rejected Accept alternate hypothesis H1 : there is no association between the opinion that GM crops are considered as an alternative to food scarcity

Hypothesis 5 H0 : There is no significant difference between age groups and the opinion about awareness of GM crops H1 : There is significant difference between age groups and the opinion about awareness of GM crops Response Strongly agree Somewhat agree Disagree Strongly disagree Neutral O E (O E) 2 (O E ) 2 E 6 7 2 8 2 5 5 5 5 5 1 4 9 9 9 0.2 0.8 1.8 1.8 1.8

6.4 Degree of freedom = n-1 = 5-1 = 4 Level of significance = 5% Table value = 9.488 Calculated value is less than tabulated value, hence null hypothesis is rejected Accept null hypothesis H0 : There is no significant difference between age groups and the opinion about awareness of GM crops

Findings and Suggestions


We recommend that the government facilitate further study and analysis to identify effective ways to address the social and ethical issues related to biotechnology by supporting such study and analysis within government and its advisory bodies and by non-governmental stakeholder groups. India's government has not yet announced a policy on GM foods because no GM crops are grown in India and no products are commercially available in supermarkets yet. India is, however, very supportive of transgenic plant research. It is highly likely that India will decide that the benefits of GM foods outweigh the risks because Indian agriculture will need to adopt drastic new measures to counteract the country's endemic poverty and feed its exploding population. Bringing a GM food to market is a lengthy and costly process, and of course agri-biotech companies wish to ensure a profitable return on their investment. Many new plant genetic engineering technologies and GM plants have been patented, and patent infringement is a big concern of agribusiness. Yet consumer advocates are worried that patenting these new plant varieties will raise the price of seeds so high that small farmers and third world countries will not be able to afford seeds for GM crops, thus widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor. India has been one of the countries celebrated as a success case for GM crops by the biotech industry, due to its cultivation of Bt cotton. Yet pressure from various sectors of society including farmer unions, scientists, consumer groups, civil society organisations and several state governments led to a moratorium on Bt brinjal in India, and now there is strong resistance towards biotech industry plans to grow various food crops commercially, including GM rice.

Conclusion
Genetically-modified foods have the potential to solve many of the world's hunger and malnutrition problems, and to help protect and preserve the environment by increasing yield and

reducing reliance upon chemical pesticides and herbicides. Yet there are many challenges ahead for governments, especially in the areas of safety testing, regulation, international policy and food labeling. Many people feel that genetic engineering is the inevitable wave of the future and that we cannot afford to ignore a technology that has such enormous potential benefits. However, we must proceed with caution to avoid causing unintended harm to human health and the environment as a result of our enthusiasm for this powerful technology.

Reference
1. Review of the project "Reconvening the lay peoples panel on GM food 4 years after" (2000) 2. Rules agreed over GM food exports, Vol 402, p 473, Feb 2000 3. India intends to reap the full commercial benefits (Nature, Vol 402, pp 342-343, Nov 1999) 4. GM crops: public perception and scientific solutions (Trends in Plant Science, Vol 4, No 12, pp 467-469, Dec 1999)