A new scientific study out of Germany confirms that growing genetically modified crops is good for national economies as well as farmers' wallets, allowing more crops to be grown on less land. In developing countries, however, many farmers decline GM seeds for fear of being shut out of large export markets, such as the European Union, which bans their sale.

Researchers at the University of Göttingen examined all impact studies of GM crops published in English between 1995 and March 2014 and found numerous advantages to growing them. For crops resistant to insects, average yield increased by twenty-five percent. For crops resistant to glysophate, allowing farmers to spray herbicide without damaging the food, the average yield increased by nine percent. 

Farmers in developing nations who use the technology achieve yields 14 percentage points above those of GM farmers in the rich world. Pests and weeds are a bigger problem in poor countries, so GM confers bigger benefits.

Legendary chef Jacques Pépin argues in his Big Think interview that scientific manipulation of our food has historically been tremendously beneficial. Going forward, we should continue experimenting but also insist on strict controls over our scientific achievements:

Read more at the Economist

Photo credit: Shutterstock