An Overview of the Positive Effects of GMOs in Hawaii

I chose to write my paper about GMO’s effects on Hawai`i and more specifically their effects on sustainability. I chose this by first conducting an interview about GMOs with an expert. After this interview I tried to sculpt the info I recieved into a critical research question that I was interested in. Since my interviewee discussed increased crop yields from GMOs I began research into this and decided it tied directly to the Hawai`i sustainability movement. It is clear that these two topics are not typically grouped together but they go hand and hand so I chose them to be my topic.

I then wrote my paper straight from an outline I had pre prepared.

I used my peer review extremely effectively. Arnold helped me fix several grammatical issues sprawled throughout my paper. I also followed his advice and edited my thesis to be more blunt. I then edited my topic sentences like he suggested which helped me build a stronger argument.

The only point in which I varied from what he told me to do is instead of implementing the rival cause I added a paragraph on the ringspot virus in Hawaii. I did this because discounting the rival cause would use Identical points to the paragraph I wrote about debunking the stigmas associated with GMOs. This would make re adding these points a second time repetitive and unnecessary. All and all, Arnold’s quality of peer review was very good and he really helped me develope my paper into what it is today.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer

Proficient in: Agriculture

5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Sustainability is a heated topic in Hawaii today. Ever since colonization the island chain has become less and less reliant on its own agriculture and more reliant on imported good. This is a large issue when considering nearly one and a half million people live on the islands. If a large crisis isolated the islands for a even a month it would cripple the community and cause horrible consequences. For this reason Hawaii must take steps to become more self sustainable. How can Hawaii become more sustainable though?

I belive in order to explore this idea Hawai`i must look to another heated topic in today’s society, GMOs. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are scientifically engineered organisms designed to be better than traditional crops. GMOs could provide the ability to increase crop yields at no increased risk. Through genetically modified crops Hawai`ian agriculture will be able to increase production of a wide variety of crops using less pesticides and with less risk of plant illness. It is for this reason that I believe GMOs must be used for Hawai`i to become less reliant on imported food.

In order to understand the positive effects GMOs would have on Hawai`ian agriculture first I have to discount the negative stigma associated with these crops. GMOs have generated a large negative stigma that is not supported by scientific fact. This is confirmed by large scientific organizations shown by this quote. “The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization and the exceptionally vigilant European Union agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods” (Editors). Clearly since major scientific groups show there is no major danger in genetically modified food the stigma is misplaced.

According to Anthony Amend, an expert in the field of ethnobotany, GMOs stigma doesn’t even come from the crops themselves. When asked to give insight into the negative stigmas associated with GMOs Amend responded “I think GMOs, ugh people have real negative attitudes towards GMOs one because they don’t necessarily understand the science behind them. Um and I think two because they’re associated with companies that have um negative associations for other reasons. Um so I think those are my insights and those are probably the two biggest reasons why people are so anti GMO” (Amend). Clearly this shows the stigma associated with GMOs comes from a lack of understanding and poor corporate use of this technology. With the proper education into GMO crops the negative stigmas will vanish and public support will rise.

So if GMOs were used properly and the population is educated they could be used with no health or societal fall back. In order to understand how GMOs would help Hawai`ian agriculture become more sustainable I would like talk about Hawaii’s current agricultural situation. Since colonization the systems of Hawai`ian agriculture have been rapidly changing. Hawaiian farming went from stable farming of taro and other crops into an era of farming crops for trade. This helped Hawai`i become more modernized, but it came at the cost of food sovereignty. Hawaii has started growing large amounts of unsustainable crops like sugarcane, coffee, and pineapple which are lucrative in trade but do not increase Hawaii’s food sustainability enough.

This growing problem is outlined by when they say “Steady growth of diversified agriculture and record-high levels for certain export commodities last year suggest Hawaii’s ag exports are doing their share of selling to the world” (Hawaii Business). One can infer based on this increase the reason for the prioritization of land for higher yield crops is economic. Therefore in order to increase crop production of more favourable and sustainable crops we need to modify them to fit this economic situation. This shows in Hawai`i’s current situation GMOs will help to create food sustainability in the near future.

GMOs will also help Hawaii increase it crop production without increasing land use. GMOs crops prove to have higher yields do to increased crop elasticity. This is because GMO’d crops are like naturally selected crops, they have the best genome for ideal growth. This allows for less unusable and unhealthy crops to be grown in every harvest therefore increasing crop yield. Drake Bennett, a writer for businessweek, discusses this when he discusses scientific studies into increased crop yields in Germany.

He says “The authors, a pair of agricultural economists at Germany’s University of Göttingen, found that GM technology increased crop yields by 22 percent, reduced pesticide use by 37 percent, and increased farmer profits by 68 percent” (Bennett). With an increased crop yield of 22 percent and an increased profit margin of 68 percent Hawaiian farmers could afford to grow more locally sustainable crops opposed to export focused crops. This would bring food closer to our plates and increase Hawai`i’s food sovereignty.

GMOs will help in Hawai`i’s food sovereignty by increasing crop resilience. This will allow for the use of less pesticides. Pesticides are an essential part of farming in tropical environments and are shown to have negative effects not only on local ecosystems but on the world as a whole. For this reason the decrease in pesticides by “37 percent” would help create less environmental impact while increasing crop production. In addition according to a journal published by the Cambridge University Press “Among crops, the total global potential loss due to pests varied from about 50% in wheat to more than 80% in cotton production.

The responses are estimated as losses of 26-29% for soybean, wheat and cotton, and 31, 37 and 40% for maize, rice and potatoes, respectively”. (Crop Losses to Pests). This shows the sheer magnitude of pests effects on crop yields. Thankfully with GMO’d crops these numbers would decrease by a huge factor with the use of less pesticides. Clearly with increased pest resistance crop yields strikingly higher therefore allowing Hawai`i to become more food sovereign.

The ringspot virus of Hawai`i is an excellent example of GMOs at work in Hawai`i today. Ringspot virus, or PRSV, is aphid transmitted disease that affects Hawai`ian papayas. This viral disease is responsible for eliminating nearly the entire population of Hawai`ian papaya Hawaiian papaya is an essential economic crop for farmers on the island so scientists went to work trying to modify the crop to be resistant to this epidemic. Fortunately through the use of GMOS “PRSV-resistant transgenic papaya has been developed through coat protein (CP), RNA silencing, and replicase gene technology” (Azad). This shows the practical applications of GMOs and their ability to end epidemics.

Without GMOs this disease could have been a lot worse. Amend addresses this when he said “the ringspot virus came and um wiped out all of our papayas. So without GMO papaya there just wouldn’t be any papaya farms on Hawai” (Amend). This would have caused economic downfall for farmers and made Hawai`i even less food stable.

Fortunately thanks to GMOd ringspot resistant papaya are being farmed throughout the islands. Clearly GMOs have shown their ability to save the Hawai`ian agricultural system from epidemic and outlined their true potential. The impact of increased GMO production in Hawai`i is one that would affect us all. Through innovative farming practices and increased use of GMOs Hawaii would be able to take steps toward being more sustainable. In order to do this we must fund the research of these crops and allow for their use in our communities.

In addition we must eliminate the stigmas surrounding genetically modified crops by raising public awareness. Once these steps are taken Hawai`i must prioritize farming of sustainable focused crops opposed to export focused crops. This would create an increase in local crop yields, a decrease in imported food, and an increase in Hawai`ian sustainability. In addition the decrease in Pesticide use would allow for more environmentally friendly farming.

Cite this page

An Overview of the Positive Effects of GMOs in Hawaii. (2023, Feb 18). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7