Valuable links as resources with information on genetically modified organisms and crops

Featured

I have found the following resources explaining many issues related to biotechnology, biosafety and genetically modified organisms quite valuable and would suggest consulting them if you are interested in getting a clear understanding of the issues. More will be added later

Biosafety and Regulatory Issues

Applied Biotechnology Issues

General resources

  • Scientific American: What is a Genetically Modified Food? video
  • IFPRI-PBS invitation to event “Next Harvest II: Biotechnology Capacity in Africa, A Way Forward”

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    The International Food Policy Research Institute’s Program for Biosafety Systems cordially invites you to attend a

    Policy Roundtable on:

     “Next Harvest II: Biotechnology Capacity in Africa, A Way Forward”

     Presented as follows:

    Overview of IFPRI’s report to the African Development Report on GM Biotechnology in Africa Judy Chambers (IFPRI-PBS)
    Introducing the Next Harvest II project – Patricia Zambrano (IFPRI)
    Country presentations
    o   Kenya Virginia Kimani, Agriculturist and Expert in Pesticides and Crop Protection
    o   Nigeria Sylvia Uzochuwu, Professor of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology
    o   South Africa Muffy Koch, Global Biosafety

    Specialist

    o   Uganda Geofrey Arinaitwe, Plant Genetic Engineer
    Policy issues and lessons learned Jose Falck-Zepeda (IFPRI-PBS)
    Q&A

    Note: Lunch will be served at 11:45

     Friday, February 20, 2015

    12:00 – 2:00 pm

    4ABC Conference Room

    (Go-to-meeting information below)

     Abstract

    In 2003, IFPRI released the results of Next Harvest, a study that compiled and analyzed the first comprehensive database of publically-developed genetically modified crops under development in non-industrialized countries. Since then, several regional and national efforts have been made to update this database and expand Next Harvest findings. Nevertheless, to date there are no comprehensive data about the state of biotechnology in developing countries that take into account both traditional and modern biotechnologies under development by the public and private sector. IFPRI’s 2014 report “GM Technologies for Africa: A State of Affairs” identified the lack of standardized and uniformly collected biotech data as main constraint in assessing the overall state of Africa’s agricultural biotechnology capacity and in the ability to draw policy recommendations regarding countries’ strengths and needs. To begin to fill this gap, IFPRI designed and implemented Next Harvest II, a John Templeton funded initiative. In 2013, Next Harvest II gathered detailed information for four of the leading biotechnology countries in Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. The information collected has enabled the systematic evaluation of the status of African biotechnologies in these countries. The panel of participants will give an overview of the results for each country, highlighting differences and similarities. South Africa, clearly the leader in biotech adoption in the continent, is a country where agricultural biotechnology has been mainstreamed in a significant number of agricultural research institutes. Nigeria, on the other hand, has encountered difficulties to develop and implement biotechnologies. Kenya and Uganda maintain a solid portfolio of agricultural biotechnology research but still face institutional, human and financial resource limitations. Drawing from the rich data collected, the panel will discuss the capacity of the biotechnology innovation system to produce and deliver these technologies, the opportunities and challenges faced, and will give policy recommendations to address current limitations.

     

    Presenters Bios:

    Muffy Koch is a South African biologist and global biosafety consultant. She worked with the team to first genetically modify plants in South Africa and set up the first cereal transformation group in the country. She works with government task teams on the development of GM safety legislation with much of her time devoted to international biosafety initiatives and training in the developing world. Her education portfolio addresses policy makers, scientists, farmers, the public, educators and schools with information on biotechnology and biosafety. She has published papers, chapters and directories; and has presented widely at scientific conferences, workshops and public awareness seminars. Muffy led the South Africa study for Next Harvest II.

    Virginia Kimani graduated with BSc. in Agriculture, MSc. in Plant Pathology and with a Ph.D in Crop Science. She is an agriculturist and an expert in pesticides and crop protection, and is currently the Director and Lead Consultant of the Pesticides and Agricultural Resource Centre (PARC), an organization that has carried out assignments for WINROCK, USAID, CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre), COLEACP (EU- ACP- Association of Fruit and Vegetable Importers and Exporters in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific) and IFPRI (International Food Policy and Research Institute). In the biotechnology sector, Virginia has carried out a number of assignments including two major studies: the impact of strict implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on trade and the status of biotechnology in Kenya. She has written several publications, notably a paper on the Implications of import regulations and information requirements under the Cartagena protocol on biosafety for GM commodities in Kenya, as well as a chapter in the recently published book, Biotechnology in Africa, alongside other authors. She has made several presentations in various COMESA biosafety forums focusing on the impact of legislation on trade. Virginia led the Kenya study for Next Harvest II.

    Sylvia Uzochukwu is a Professor of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology from Nigeria. Originally a plant scientist (B.Sc.), she took her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology, specializing in Food Microbiology and Food Biotechnology. She has been involved in the last 15 years in organizing and teaching workshops for the training and re-training of scientists in Nigeria and other parts of Africa in the use of molecular techniques and emerging technologies in biotechnology research, and in the biosafety of genetically modified crops, especially Risk Assessment and Confined Field Trial Procedures. She was a member of the Nigerian National Biosafety Committee from inception in 2002 till 2010, and was involved in the development of the Nigerian Biosafety Bill currently about to be passed into law. She chaired the scientific sub-Committees that recommended the approval of 2 of the 4 Confined Field Trials for genetically modified (GM) crops currently going on in Nigeria. She trained as a Biosafety Specialist at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in 2010. Her current research efforts are in the areas of gene mining in traditional fermented food environments in Nigeria, and evaluation of the Nigeria food and feed system for genetically modified organisms, to drive home the urgent need for a biosafety law in Nigeria. She currently teaches in the Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria, where she is the Dean of the Faculty of Science. Sylvia led the Nigeria study for Next Harvest II.

    Geofrey Ariaitwe is a Principal Research Officer at the National Plant Biotechnology Center, National Agricultural Research Laboratories in Kawanda, Uganda. Geofrey, who was initially trained as an agriculturalist (B.Sc. Agric.) specialized in plant and cell culture (M.Sc.) and finally Plant Genetic Engineering with a PhD in Bioscience Engineering. To understand the business perspective of Biotechnology, he recently completed an MBA. Geofrey started his research career at the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda, and established, for the first time, the Genetic Transformation System for the East African Highland Bananas previously regarded as recalcitrant. Following this success, more than five Confined Field Trials (CFT) of genetically Engineered Bananas were conducted at NARO, Kawanda. For the last 10 years, he has been leading the Banana Genetic Transformation Team at NARO and the Principal Scientist on banana biofortification initiative. He is also in charge of the Biofortified Banana CFT, believed to be the first banana CFT where transgenic lines were developed by an African laboratory. Currently, Geofrey is an active member of NARO’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), Uganda biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium (UBBC) and Open Forum for Biotechnology (OFAB). As a Founder of BioCrops Uganda Limited, a private tissue company, specializing in production and distribution of plantlets of orange fresh sweet potato varieties, he has a dream of significantly contributing to the reduction micronutrient deficiencies – a huge public health challenge in Uganda. He led the Ugandan Next Harvest II study,

    Go-To-Meeting:

    Please join my meeting: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/484531205

    Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended.

     

    Or, call in using your telephone:

    Dial +1 (646) 749-3112

    Access Code: 484-531-205

    Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

    Meeting ID: 484-531-205

     

    Published article on GM labeling in Uganda: “If labels for GM food were present, would consumers trust them?’ Insights from a consumer survey in Uganda”

    ‘If labels for GM food were present, would consumers trust them?’ Insights from a consumer survey in Uganda
    Enoch Mutebi Kikulwea1, José Falck-Zepedaa2 and Justus Wesselera3

    1 Georg-August-University Goettingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Platz der Goettinger Sieben 5, 37073 Goettingen, Germany. E-mail: ekikulw@gwdg.de; emkikulwe@gmail.com

    2 Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, USA. E-mail: j.falck-zepeda@cgiar.org

    3 Technische Universitaet München, Agricultural and Food Economics, Germany. E-mail: justus.wesseler@wzw.tum.de

    Abstract

    Food labelling is costly. Food labelling is often demanded with the introduction of new food products such as genetically modified (GM) food. If consumers do not have trust in the label, scarce resources are wasted. This paper investigates factors affecting the trust in food labels among Ugandan consumers. The results suggest that older, less-educated individuals of smaller household sizes and with trust in government institutions have more trust in food labels. Other factors were also found to be important. The government has to consider those differences in consumer trust when designing a GM labelling policy.

    Environment and Development Economics
    PB – Cambridge Journals Online
    AU – Kikulwe,Enoch Mutebi
    AU – Falck-Zepeda,José
    AU – Wesseler,Justus
    TI – ‘If labels for GM food were present, would consumers trust them?’ Insights from a consumer survey in Uganda
    SN – 1469-4395
    PY – 2014
    VL – 19
    IS – 06
    SP – 786
    EP – 805
    M3 – 10.1017/S1355770X13000636
    UR – http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1355770X13000636
    ER –

    Jose Falck-Zepeda nominated to National Academy of Sciences Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops

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    The FalckZepeda_JoseUS National Academy of Sciences – National Research Council has nominated Jose Falck-Zepeda to be part of the Committee “Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects”. This committee will elaborate a National Academy of Sciences – National Research Council (NRC) report which will likely be used in several policy discussions with a broad readership at the global level. The nomination will be formally declared complete after a 20 day review and public commentary. The NAS-NRC Committee will meet publicly September 15-16 in Washington DC. For more information about the Committee and its membership please visit the following site NAS NRC Committee

    Bt/RR maize adoption, economic impact and policies -results from a study made by IFPRI, Zamorano University and UC Davis

    The following is a presentation I made on behalf of the IFPRI, Zamorano University and UC-Davis/PIPRA team at teh 18th International Consortium of Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR) in Nairobi Kenya June 18-20, 2014.

    <div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/JoseFalck/falck-zepeda-et-al-icabr-presentation-on-the-insect-resistant-and-herbicide-tolerant-maize-assessment-in-honduras-policy-roundtable-2014&#8243; title=”Falck Zepeda et al ICABR presentation on the insect resistant and herbicide tolerant maize assessment in Honduras for a policy roundtable 2014″ target=”_blank”>Falck Zepeda et al ICABR presentation on the insect resistant and herbicide tolerant maize assessment in Honduras for a policy roundtable 2014</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/JoseFalck&#8221; target=”_blank”>Jose Falck Zepeda</a></strong> </div>

    Black sigatoka resistant bananas in Uganda – Low Level Presence of Genetically Modified Crops

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    Based on our presentation on behalf of IFPRI at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Technical Conference on the Low Levels of Genetically Modified Crops in International Food and Feed Trade held March 20-21, 2014 in Rome, Italy and based on responses from different stakeholders, we felt necessary to share not only the presentation but also our comments to the slides and additional information about the presentation.

     

    Slide14

    We can also observe this effect with the case of fungal resistant bananas in Uganda. Every year of delay, Uganda foregoes potential annual social benefits of 200 million US$ for a food security, staple crop.

    Trade in East highland bananas, specific type planted in Uganda, is not as high, mostly with parts of Kenya and Tanzania, but regulatory issues wil have an impact on the potential deployment of this technology, including the issue of LLPs.

    References

    • Kikulwe, E.M., E. Birol, J. Wesseler, J. Falck-Zepeda. 2011. A latent class approach to investigating demand for genetically modified banana in Uganda. Agricultural Economics.
    • Kilkuwe, Enoch; Wesseler, Justus, Falck-Zepeda, José. “Introducing a genetically modified banana in Uganda : Social benefits, costs, and consumer perceptions.” 2008.  IFPRI Discussion Paper 767. Washington, D.C. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/dp/ifpridp00767.asp
    • Falck Zepeda, J., J. Yorobe, Jr., B. Amir Husin, A. Manalo, E. Lokollo, G. Ramon, P. Zambrano and Sutrisno “Estimates and Implications of the Costs of Compliance with Biosafety Regulations in Developing Countries: The case of the Philippines and Indonesia,”. GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology and Agriculture in the Food Chain. Volume 3, Issue 1 January/February/March 2012 http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/gmcrops/article/18727/?nocache=668315680

    Implications cost of compliance for public goods in developing countries – Low Level Presence of Genetically Modified Crops

    Based on our presentation on behalf of IFPRI at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Technical Conference on the Low Levels of Genetically Modified Crops in International Food and Feed Trade held March 20-21, 2014 in Rome, Italy and based on responses from different stakeholders, we felt necessary to share not only the presentation but also our comments to the slides and additional information about the presentation.

     

    Slide13

    In fact, we have estimated that the cost of compliance is not as important except for those organizations who have budget constraints. These organizations include National Agricultural Research Organizations (NAROs), the International Agricultural Research Systems (IARs), and smaller private firms. Increases in the broader cost of compliance of regulations is likely to impact the number and the type of technologies for development most likely in favor of those technologies with a higher return and less of a public good product.

    As the figure in this slide shows, we can observe this impact with four technologies form the public sector in the Philippines, where the impact of cost on net benefits is not as important as the regulatory time delays.

    Having said this, cost will be of course relevant for those organizations who are likely to pay and be affected by regulations. If a shipment is rejected (i.e. a 50,000 ton PANAMAX ship filled with grain) at an importing port of destination, then someone indeed will incur cost and certainly losses from this operation. If this outcome, introduces uncertainty into the process, then exporters may elect to suspend their shipments to trade sensitive countries. This obviously has several economic welfare implications. \

    References

    • Bayer, J. C., G. W. Norton, and J. B. Falck-Zepeda. 2010. Cost of compliance with biotechnology regulation in the Philippines: Implications for developing countries. AgBioForum 13(1): 53-62. http://www.agbioforum.org/v13n1/v13n1a04-norton.htm
    • Falck Zepeda, J., J. Yorobe, Jr., B. Amir Husin, A. Manalo, E. Lokollo, G. Ramon, P. Zambrano and Sutrisno “Estimates and Implications of the Costs of Compliance with Biosafety Regulations in Developing Countries: The case of the Philippines and Indonesia,”. GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology and Agriculture in the Food Chain. Volume 3, Issue 1   January/February/March 2012 http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/gmcrops/article/18727/?nocache=668315680
    • Smyth S.J., McDonald J., Falck-Zepeda J.B. Investment, regulation, and uncertainty: Managing new plant breeding techniques. GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain 2014; 5:4 – 3; http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/gmcr.27465

    The Lowdown on Pesticides with a Plant Pathologist

    jfalck:

    Understanding the role that pesticides have in terms of benefits, costs and risks is important to help us make better decisions as a society. Steve Savage (author blog Applied Mythology) does this brilliantly in helping us demystify and demythologize pesticides. Interview was done by Fourat Janabi (author blog Random Rationality) another excellent blog covering science and its role in society. Highly recommended both blogs.

    Originally posted on Random Rationality:

    As I delve further into the depths of agriculture, particularly in respect to GMOs which has become my pet project, I am consistently astounded by how much I don’t know. Granted, that hasn’t stopped me from forming, having, and propagating opinions, but always, in the recesses of my mind, preparing myself for the possibility that what I take for granted and believe in may be wrong.

    I was once wrong about GMOs, and then I was wrong again on pesticides. Continuing on in the same vein as my Lowdown on GMOs series, I’ve reached out to plant pathologist Steve Savage to pick his brain on pesticides as it is perhaps just as big an issue as the use of GMOs today. Enjoy.


    0 – Lots of folks are increasingly having concerns over pesticides. In that regard, before we begin, I think it will pay dividends to define a few things

    View original 3,247 more words

    Broader regulatory cost of compliance – Low Level Presence of Genetically Modified Crops

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    Based on our presentation on behalf of IFPRI at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Technical Conference on the Low Levels of Genetically Modified Crops in International Food and Feed Trade held March 20-21, 2014 in Rome, Italy and based on responses from different stakeholders, we felt necessary to share not only the presentation but also our comments to the slides and additional information about the presentation.

    Slide12

    So far we have been referring to the cost of compliance in a relatively narrow manner. Let me broaden up the discussion to consider cost of compliance to regulatory issues as this has had a distinct set of implications particularly for developing countries .

    We have research that shows that regulatory delays have a negative impact on returns to investment. We have estimated that 6 years of delays is the trigger point to suspending an investment in a GM crop. In average, we seem to be reaching the 4 year mark so we are quite close to the trigger point.

    Regulatory delays in this sense, increase investment risk. This is a project investment decision weighing potential gains and probability of completing a regulatory process to obtain a net return. In the case of uncertainty this increases the likelihood that investment in R&D will not be made.

    References

     

    • Falck Zepeda, J., J. Yorobe, Jr., B. Amir Husin, A. Manalo, E. Lokollo, G. Ramon, P. Zambrano and Sutrisno “Estimates and Implications of the Costs of Compliance with Biosafety Regulations in Developing Countries: The case of the Philippines and Indonesia,”. GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology and Agriculture in the Food Chain. Volume 3, Issue 1 January/February/March 2012 http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/gmcrops/article/18727/?nocache=668315680
    • Smyth S.J., McDonald J., Falck-Zepeda J.B. Investment, regulation, and uncertainty: Managing new plant breeding techniques. GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain 2014; 5:4 – 3; http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/gmcr.27465
    • Bayer, J. C., G. W. Norton, and J. B. Falck-Zepeda. 2010. Cost of compliance with biotechnology regulation in the Philippines: Implications for developing countries. AgBioForum 13(1): 53-62. http://www.agbioforum.org/v13n1/v13n1a04-norton.htm

     

    Summary economic welfare impacts – Low Level Presence of Genetically Modified Crops

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    Based on our presentation on behalf of IFPRI at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Technical Conference on the Low Levels of Genetically Modified Crops in International Food and Feed Trade held March 20-21, 2014 in Rome, Italy and based on responses from different stakeholders, we felt necessary to share not only the presentation but also our comments to the slides and additional information about the presentation.

    Slide11

    Summarizing the results of our research examining selected issues and policy options.The 0% policies are valid with high perceived risk and where there is not trust in the exporter(s) regulations. In turn, 100% pass are valid when price matters more than anything else. The country in essence disregard any other consideration except for price. Let me also clarify that although Gruere indicates that there is no probability of trade disruptions with 100% pass policy, obviously this is no an absolute, but it is in practice. highly unlikely.

    In conclusion establishing, LLP policies are then valid intermediates between 0% and 100% pass and are the best solution from an economic perspective. This in essence is then a call to consider LLP policies that have a realistic LLP tolerance level distinct from zero. These results also show, that this is a manageable issue particularly if countries address the issue not only of the LLP tolerance level, but also building trust in other countries’ regulations including exporter, and contribute to reducing approval delays and/or the cost of compliance with this and other regulations. 

    Reference

    Gruere, G. 2011. Asynchronous Approvals of GM Products and the Codex Annex: What Low Level Presence Policy for Vietnam?. International Food and Agricultural Trade Council Discussion Paper.

     

     

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