2015 Conference: “Can Genetically Modified Crops Help the Poor?”

Hosted at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this event brings together academics, policy makers, research scientists and development experts to evaluate the implications of using GM crops as a tool to alleviate poverty and hunger. See a list of events by clicking Schedule above.

Genetically Modified (GM) crops have emerged as one of the most contentious and controversial topics in the realm of agricultural development. Proponents argue that GM crops represent one of the most promising means of alleviating poverty and hunger for poor farmers around the world, and are particularly enthusiastic about second-generation GM crops that focus on traits and varieties that matter to poor farmers. Opponents voice concerns about intellectual property, negative health and environmental impacts, and the increasing control of multi-national corporations. Both sides have worked hard to frame the terms of this polarized debate, the result being they often speak past one another, rarely engaging in meaningful dialogue.

On Thursday October 1st, a public keynote event will feature two of the world’s most influential voices in the debate over whether GMOs can help the poor. Dr. Jennifer Thomson, a South African molecular biologist, has written extensively on the potential for GM crops to alleviate poverty and hunger. Dr. Raj Patel is a scholar and activist whose research and advocacy work underlines the inequities built into today’s global food system and explores alternatives to it. This dynamic conversation will showcase current debates over using genome-enhancing technologies to improve agricultural production for the world’s poor. This event is free and open to the public. 7:00 pm (19:00), Ondaatje Theatre, Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.