Photo: Mulad

The main objective in discussing regulatory design is to suggest to developing countries that it is prudent to carefully assess and define whether or not to include the socio-economics into the decision-making process and to define all of the steps in the process once the decision is made before attempting to implement such inclusion.

I think that it is critical to clearly define how socio-economic assessments will be used for decision-making in order to avoid having incongruities and to allow transparency so that everybody is clear about what will be expected in such a decision-making process. This will allow developers to assess whether they want to enter a market or develop a product for a specific market and for consumers understanding the rationale behind the decision rendered by the competent authority.

Clarity can only introduce confidence into the system and help all stakeholders trust such decisions.

We have done a number of studies at IFPRI–and more are on the way–where we have conducted quantitative and qualitative approaches to gather data for one production cycle, and, through different methods, have attempted to answer a set of questions related to the potential adoption and use of LMOs. This approach obviously can be criticized for not capturing multiple year variations, although we have attempted to address this limitation by using available secondary data for assessing such variation over time. The latter is not always available or is too aggregated such as using data from FAOSTAT or COMTRADE.