Genetically modified crops and the ‘food crisis’: discourse and material impacts

A surge of media reports and rhetorical claims depicted genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution to the ‘global food crisis’ manifested in the sudden spike in world food prices during 2007–08. Broad claims were made about the potential of GM technologies to tackle the crisis, even though the useful crops and traits typically invoked had yet to be developed, and despite the fact that real progress had in fact been made by using conventional breeding. The case vividly illustrates the instrumental use of food-crisis rhetoric to promote GM crops.