Home > Proposed Benefits of GM Foods > What Are the Cost Benefits of GM Foods?

What Are the Cost Benefits of GM Foods?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 3 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Cost Benefits Gm Foods Production

With all of the controversy around genetically modified (GM) foods, the aspect of costs and economics has become a commonly argued one. Assessing the cost benefits of GM foods is not an easy task but it is an important one because it impacts a nation's livelihood and also affects the purchasing price that consumers pay to obtain the food.

Unfortunately, the studies pertaining to GM foods and cost effectiveness have very mixed results and are impacted by a wide range of factors that leave each crop – cotton or corn, for instance – sometimes showing vastly different economic profiles.

Understanding GM Crops And Cost Measures

To actually assess how profitable a GM crop is involves years of monitoring the cultivation of the crops and the commercialising and marketing aspects of that crop. Even in a given year, the yields of a GM crop and the pricing can vary tremendously. The overall supply and demand for the food also influence how the product is priced, how much is purchased by consumers and how much farmers obtain in terms of planned yield.

Labour And Productivity for GM Crops

One aspect of GM crops that is thought to be more beneficial than conventional crops is the production aspect. GM crops are considered more convenient, especially ones that provide specific benefits such as increased pest resistance and the ability to withstand weather extremes.

Due to these benefits, the crops are believed to be more flexible with regards to growing practices. Less labour may be needed to produce the crop, which could translate into savings for the farmers. However, farms may have to be restructured over the long-term, which will allow farms to accommodate these changes to growing practices. Such adjustments could be expensive, which might detract from the short-term cost benefits that occur from increased productivity and reduced labour.

At the same time, growing GM foods means that workers on a farm must learn new skills for managing the crops as well as becoming educated and proficient in newer growing practices. Additional training costs are offset against the improved productivity on the farm. Management costs are another area that needs to be factored in when considering how cost effective GM crops can be for farmers.

GM Food Pricing And Costs

In comparison with conventional crop seeds, GM seeds are more expensive. The value of GM technology is considered 'worthy' of such an increase according to the manufacturers because the seeds have beneficial traits such as resistance against weeds, pests, disease or other factors.

Manufacturers also cite that the increased cost of the seeds serves to fund further research into genetic modification techniques and developments. In addition, the markets for GM seeds and conventional ones are considered to be quite separate, which means that costs will similarly vary.

Cost-savings of GM Crops

The market price of GM crops is often simply assumed to be the same when studies have been performed on profits from crops. The impact of GM crops on the pricing of specific crops is a very difficult aspect to assess but in those studies where pricing on GM crops and non-GM crops was assumed to be the same, GM crops were cited as more profitable only where the increased costs of the seeds were offset by the farmer's savings in disease and insect resistance or a better crop yield.

Negative Consequences to GM Foods and Costs

One report published by an organisation in the UK stated that GM crops have actually been disastrous from an economic perspective. The report cites that farm subsidies and lower crop prices as well as reduced exports because of a poor reputation for GM foods in common export countries have all had an overall loss effect in the billions of dollars. This particular report did find GM crops to have a lower market value, compared to non-GM products in countries where GM products were not favoured.

It seems that attitudes against GM products have been a key factor in preventing the foods from being embraced. Due to the loss of export trade, the crop prices ultimately were reduced for GM crops and the government then stepped in with subsidies, which resulted in billions extra spent each year on GM crops.

In contrast, some organic foods are experiencing rapid growth and enormous profits, although the industry may be threatened to some extent due to contamination of GM seeds that are easily blown by the wind into neighbouring farms.

Clearly, assessing the cost benefits of GM foods is difficult although some organisations are concluding quite adamantly that not only are there no cost benefits, but that GM foods are resulting in huge losses to the industry itself and other ones such as the organic food industry.

Given the number of conflicting studies available on the cost aspects of GM foods, the only real conclusion that can be made is that more research must be done to determine what cost benefits exist from GM foods and how the technology can economically benefit a nation.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hi there, What was the UK report you mention? I'd like to find it, if you could let me know that would be lovely. Ta.
Meg - 13-Sep-12 @ 2:37 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • capitalistic bastard
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    If god is real then he would accept all his children. Including the lizard people and the angry demimgod Xenu. And I think he would…
    27 April 2017
  • dunno
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Okay seriously calm down for one we don't know if god is real or not because we don't have solid proof except for "man's" word and we…
    25 April 2017
  • dragonhunter
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    i think that they can help alot.
    24 April 2017
  • Communist66642069
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Why is everyone ignoring the fact that regarldess of the GMOs There are alien lizards ruling our governmentthey are the only god in…
    4 April 2017
  • fc222 IS WRONG
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Attention. I have made another mistake. I assure that this will not happen again, and I thank you for your understanding. The previous…
    31 March 2017
  • poopy
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    this is a very cool they i love it its amazing
    30 March 2017
  • feministchristian222
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    This is the nickname I meant to set in my previous statement. I apear to have made a mistake, which will not happen again
    29 March 2017
  • feministchristian222
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    In this essay, I aim to explain why feministchristian222 has lied to you all. My first point is that God is decisively not real. After…
    29 March 2017
  • Heavenlord666
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    I agree with feminist christian. My son is now gay.
    29 March 2017
  • feministchristian222
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    gm crops are against the bibles rules. we should never mess with the eternal one's plan for us. if he says that normal rice should make…
    29 March 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the GeneticallyModifiedFoods website. Please read our Disclaimer.