Monday, 29 March 2010

The potential impact of genetically modified (GM) crops in developing countries

March 22, 2010 Washington. International humanitarian organization Oxfam America hosted a panel on 22/03 discussing the continuing controversy over the potential impact of genetically modified (GM) crops in developing countries.

The panel discussion focused on the findings of the recently released book, Biotechnology and Agricultural Development: Transgenic Cotton, Rural Institutions and Resource-Poor Farmers, edited by Robert Tripp, one of the panelists. The research, commissioned by Oxfam America, assesses the socioeconomic impacts of genetically modified, insect-resistant cotton – or transgenic cotton – by examining its use by smallholder farmers in four developing countries with years of experiences with GM technology: India, South Africa, China, and Colombia.
“Concerns from climate change to food and energy prices only serve to intensify the debate about the future of genetically modified crops, as well as the role of agricultural technology in poverty reduction. This book examines the experience of GM cotton in developing countries and draws lessons about the relevance of agricultural biotechnology for resource-poor farmers,” said Tripp.
The research shows that institutional investments in agriculture are more important and relevant for poor farmers than investment in biotechnology and challenges the claim that biotechnology can be the solution to agricultural development by examining the precarious institutional basis on which these hopes rest in most countries.

22/03 New Research Examines Whether Biotechnology Is Relevant to Poor Farmers
Robert Tripp has a doctorate in social anthropology and has spent his career working on issues related to agricultural technology development and dissemination. He spent 15 years with the Economics Program of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and 12 years as a research fellow with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).