Genetic Engineering Will Feed the World

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Genetic engineering will feed the world

In “The link between patenting life forms, generic engineering and food security” (1998), Wangari Mathai advocates that patenting life forms and genetic engineering is the direct cause of food insecurity. She reasons firstly that, life forms should not be patented by individual firm, as life is not an invention by human beings and patenting life forms is actually a disobey of the patent laws. Secondly, she argues that patenting on life forms will lead to total dependent on corporations and threatens the food security and destroys the very basis of the livelihood systems of farming. Thus, she believes that by disallowing patent on living materials, genetic engineering will not threaten the food security. Lastly, she claims that genetically modified food is too expensive to purchase for the poor and genetic engineering will not be able to solve the problem of global food shortage.

Mathai does have her strengths. She shows her knowledge of the purpose of patent-related laws. She knows that the use of patent right on life forms by firms may harm the basis of societies’ food systems. Moreover, Mathai is persuasive in her arguments about how firms can obtain private monopolies on seeds. Firstly she presents her claim and she supports them. She claims that patent on living materials such as seeds should not be granted to private companies. It is because of the potential misuse of the patent rights and harms the basis of societies’ food systems. She then cites the example of Monsanto Corporation to further prove her point of view. Monsanto gains patent on genetic seeds and as a result, farmers have no choice but to buy seeds from Monsanto each season. The story of Monsanto shows the adverse effect of granting patent right on seeds to private corporation and hence, Mathai disagrees with such act and the ends justify the means. However, Mathai is too absolute in saying that farmers are ‘totally’ (Mathai) relied on companies...
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