IFPRI, as an international non-governmental organization, is particularly interested in those crops and traits of a public good nature where the public sector will take a large role in their development. Those products released to date, with a few exceptions such as those Bt cotton events developed by the public sector in India and China, have been private sector developed product for producers in industrialized countries. The opportunity arose to diffuse these technologies to farmers in some developing countries with outcomes such as the ones we have described in our literature review (Smale et al. 2009). The diffusion of first generation GE crops to developing countries has been an incidental development but it is changing as more developing countries have and are investing in these technologies for their own use.

Due to their potential importance in addressing productivity constraints in developing countries, I am particularly concerned over the fate of many public sector developed technologies by national research systems in developing countries and the international research community which are likely to address crops and traits of interest to farmers. Here I am talking about the Black Sigatoka resistant bananas in Uganda, the Bt cowpea, the Bt eggplant, viral resistant cassavas and sweet potatoes, water efficient maize and sorghum, biofortified products, and others documented in Atanassov et al. (2003) and for Latin America in Falck Zepeda, et al. (2009) and Trigo et al. (2010).

The consequences of regulatory development to the public sector and the budding domestic private sector in developing countries are at the heart of my concerns, thus it is important examining the consequences (intended and non-intended) from the inclusion of socio-economic assessments in a regulatory process intended to approve, reject or recommend gathering more information as outcomes of the decision-making process.

References:

Falck-Zepeda, Jose´ Benjamin; Falconi, Cesar; Sampaio-Amstalden, Maria José; Solleiro Rebolledo, José Luis; Trigo, Eduardo; Verástegui, Javier. 2009. La biotecnología agropecuaria en América Latina: Una visión cuantitativa. IFPRI Discussion Paper 860SP. Washington, D.C. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp00860sp.pdf

Trigo, E. J. Falck-Zepeda, and C. Falconi. 2010. Biotecnología Agropecuaria para el Desarrollo en América Latina: Oportunidades y Retos. Documento de Trabajo LAC/01/10, Programa de Cooperación, FAO/Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, Servicio para América Latina y el Caribe, División del Centro de Inversiones.

“Atanassov, A., A. Bahieldin, J. Brink, M. Burachik, J. I. Cohen, V. Dhawan, R. V. Ebora, J. Falck-Zepeda, L. Herrera-Estrella, J. Komen, F. C. Low, E. Omaliko, B. Odhiambo, H. Quemada, Y. Peng, M. J. Sampaio, I. Sithole-Niang, A. Sittenfeld, M. Smale, Sutrisno, R. Valyasevi, Y. Zafar, and P. Zambrano. 2004. To Reach The Poor: Results from the ISNAR-IFPRI Next Harvest Study on Genetically Modified Crops, Public Research, and Policy Implications.” EPTD Discussion Paper 116. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute

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