First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology (Science and Technology in Society)

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Overall, they found that the net revenue was not statistically different. However, the small number of interviews and observations 36 and the number of treatments Bt versus non- Bt , irrigation versus non-irrigation, and G. Kathage and Qaim conducted a set of four surveys with a panel of Indian cotton farmers in — A total of farm households were included, but only participated in all the surveys, so the analysis used an estimation approach for an unbalanced panel.

The authors controlled for nonrandom selection bias related to technology adoption. Results showed that Bt cotton adoption increased yield by 24 percent and improved cotton profits by 50 percent. The results also provided evidence that adoption of Bt cotton raised household consumption expenditures a proxy for household living standards by 18 percent during — Gardner et al. Luttrell and Jackson did not conduct an economic analysis of Bt cotton versus non-GE cotton for U. However, they concluded that farmers in perceived benefits of planting Bt cotton even though many of them still had to spray for bollworm Helicoverpa zea [Boddie].

Bt Maize. In a review of six U.

First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology by Jack R. Kloppenburg

Net returns increased in one study, decreased in one, and depended on the extent of targeted insect-pest infestation in the other four. The studies were published in — The findings of Gardner et al. Gardner and colleagues found that Bt maize did not provide any savings to household labor. That result was not unexpected inasmuch as it had previously been reported that many U. In a province in the Philippines during the wet season, Afidchao et al. Average net income and return on investment did not differ between non-GE growers and Bt growers. In four provinces in the Philippines in the wet season of —, Gonzales et al.

Bt maize was more cost-efficient than conventionally bred hybrids in the dry season of — In the wet season of —, Bt maize was slightly more cost efficient than conventionally bred hybrids in four provinces on which there were data. In the wet season of —, net income in the four provinces reporting data was 5 percent higher for Bt maize growers than for non-GE growers on the basis of average yield; in the dry season, it was 48 percent higher.

Three years later, net income was 7 percent higher for Bt producers in the wet season and 5 percent higher in the dry season. Thus, this estimate can be seen as rough estimate of gains from Bt maize adoption in the country. Bt Eggplant. Bt eggplant Solanum melongena was first planted commercially by 20 farmers in Bangladesh in , so no farm-level analysis was available to the committee when it was writing its report in However, ex ante studies 8 have been performed in Bangladesh, India, and the Philippines to anticipate economic effects if Bt eggplant were adopted.

The committee felt it was important to include the results, recognizing that the studies are best estimates and not guaranteed outcomes. Islam and Norton conducted an ex ante study of economic effects on Bt eggplant farmers in Bangladesh. They surveyed 60 farmers, 30 in each of two regions, for information on input costs, crop varieties, seed. They obtained information on expected changes in yield and variable costs from scientists and more information on preferred varieties, seed sources, losses due to eggplant fruit and shoot borer, and expected extent of Bt eggplant adoption from industry experts.

On the basis of the data collected, the authors assumed that insecticide costs would decrease by 70—90 percent and seed, fertilizer, and harvesting costs would increase slightly. Yield was expected to increase by 30 percent. They projected that the increase in gross margins of Bt eggplant over non- Bt eggplant would be The results from their study in Bangladesh are qualitatively similar to those obtained by Francisco et al. Krishna and Qaim also conducted an ex ante study of the economic effect of Bt eggplant, although theirs was conducted in India. They surveyed eggplant farmers in in areas of India that accounted for 42 percent of eggplant production.

On the basis of field trials of Bt eggplant but accounting for expected lower yields on farms than in field trials, Krishna and Qaim assumed that insecticide use against eggplant fruit and shoot borer would drop by 75 percent, thereby decreasing the amount spent on insecticides. Seed costs and harvesting costs were expected to increase but so was yield of marketable fruit. Much less information is available on crops with HR traits than on those with IR traits. Of 99 studies included in the Fischer et al. According to Areal et al.

Qaim looked at HR soybean, maize, and cotton together and found that profit increased by 64 percent for adopters of HR crops, largely because of increased yields 9 percent and decreased herbicide costs 25 percent. In the United States, Fernandez-Cornejo et al. Of eight studies published in —, three reported that net returns for HR soybean adopters were the same as for farmers of non-GE soybean, and five reported an increase for adopters. Fernandez-Cornejo et al. For HR maize, a study found net returns to be the same between adoption and nonadoption; in two studies, one reported a small increase in net returns to HR maize farmers, the other an increase.

For HR cotton, a study from reported that net returns were the same; two studies from stated that net returns had increased for HR cotton farmers. Their analysis showed that HR soybean saved household labor an average of There was no evidence that HR maize offered household labor savings, and the evidence that Bt -HR maize saved household labor was extremely weak. Their results showed that the adoption of HR soybean allowed labor to shift from farm management to off-farm employment, a shift that led to higher off-farm income.

Their results did not show a correlation between the adoption of HR soybean and on-farm income. Results for HR soybean and labor allocation in the United States are qualitatively similar to those reported by Smale et al. A previous National Research Council report NRC, a and Marra and Piggott also reported that nonmonetary considerations such as savings in the time and effort spent on labor or management, savings on equipment, better operator and worker safety, improved environmental safety, and increased overall convenience may be important in explaining HR crop adoption in the United States and in other countries.

Gonzales et al. Looking at the average yield, they found a small but constant advantage in cost efficiency for the HR varieties compared with conventionally bred hybrids in both seasons. The same was true of Bt- HR varieties. Afidchao et al. Fertilizer costs were higher for HR maize hectares than for non-GE maize hectares. Expenditures on herbicides and insecticides for both GE varieties did not differ from such expenditures for non-GE maize, and farmers did not report labor savings as a reason for adopting GE varieties.

The net incomes of Bt -HR maize producers and HR maize producers were not statistically different from those of non-GE producers, and no profit advantage was found for either GE variety over non-GE maize. Further regression analysis led Afidchao et al. In , the first year of GE sugar beet production in the United States, Kniss compared 11 glyphosate-resistant sugar beet fields in commercial production with comparable non-GE sugar beet fields in Wyoming.

Growers managed each pair of fields independently of outside advice. There was little difference in the number of herbicide applications between the two sets of fields, but herbicide costs were much lower for the fields on which glyphosate was applied because glyphosate was less expensive than the herbicides used on the non-GE sugar beet.

Sugar content was similar in the two types of fields. Total sucrose content of the HR sugar beet fields exceeded that of the non-GE fields by 17 percent. The study could not be repeated in the following year to see whether results were similar because adoption of HR sugar beet had become so high that comparable non-GE fields could not be identified for study.

He also stated that growers in other sugar beet growing areas of the United States often substituted herbicide applications for hand-weeding. Their focus was to identify the constraints on technology adoption and the potential income gains available to early adopters compared with late adopters. Their work was in line with previous research on new technologies in agriculture Ryan and Gross, Early adopters of a technology gain economic benefits as their yields increase. However, as commodity prices drop because of increased production, later adopters may get yield increases but smaller economic benefits, so they earn less income than early adopters.

Despite their late adoption, however, they are better off than those who chose not to adopt the technology; nonadopters earn even less income, and this can ultimately contribute to the loss of the farm. That phenomenon, termed the technology treadmill by Cochrane , has been observed in the outcomes of the Green Revolution technologies in developing countries Evenson and Gollin, and in the consolidation in ownership of U. In the specific case of GE crops, Glover and Stone noted that the first farmers to use genetic-engineering technology in a new crop or a new location are not random; early adopters are more likely to be successful farmers.

A similar observation was made by Smale and Falck-Zepeda The committee points out that many economic analyses examined in this chapter were carried out in the first decade of GE crops; the earlier gains found in those studies may taper off over time see Box The available evidence from studies examined above indicates that the commercialization of HR soybean, Bt maize, Bt cotton, Bt -HR maize, and Bt -HR cotton has generally had favorable results in economic returns to producers who have adopted genetic-engineering technology, but there is high heterogeneity in outcomes.

As has been pointed out in much of the same literature, the results are dated or not comprehensive. There have been few long-term, cross-sectional, or longitudinal studies. Studies have concentrated on one trait—crop combination Bt cotton in three countries India, South Africa, and China.

Furthermore, Smale et al. That limitation may lead to an incomplete assessment because other approaches may allow for such adjustments. Studies of the first decade of GE crop adoption have faced substantial data limitations and methodological gaps that limited the robustness of their results, but methods have become more sophisticated and types of analyses have increased.

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In general, studies of income effects have not looked as much at other widely grown crops with input traits such as HR canola and HR sugar beet or crops with resistance to viruses, including papaya and squash. Their high adoption rates where they have been approved and grown 11 imply that they provide an economic benefit to adopters. Studies conducted in Canada provide evidence on the economic benefits to adopters of HR canola see Phillips, ; Beckie et al. Studies of income effects after adoption of more recently commercialized crops, such as Bt eggplant or drought-tolerant maize, have yet to be done.

Although the existing economic-assessment literature points to overall gains to farmers of the most widely grown GE crops, there may be substantial variations in costs and benefits among producers, regions, and trait—crop combinations and over time. Pemsl et al. In the next section, the intersection of the institutional variables is examined to determine the benefits of genetic engineering to small-scale and other farmers.

Although the section focuses on small-scale farmers, the institutional issues are not exclusive to them. FINDING: The available evidence indicates that GE soybean, cotton, and maize have generally had favorable outcomes in economic returns to producers who have adopted these crops, but there is high heterogeneity in outcomes. Earlier economic studies had data and methodological limitations, but there is progress in advancing methods and in the number of issues addressed in analyses beyond economics. FINDING: In situations in which farmers have adopted GE crops, especially those with herbicide resistance, the committee finds that nonmonetary considerations are probably driving adoption of GE crops despite the absence of a readily identifiable economic benefit related to their production.

Adoption was lower in Australia, which approved HR canola for commercial production in In , HR canola was planted on 30 percent, 13 percent, and 11 percent of canola hectares in the three Australian states that permit HR canola to be grown, for a total of , hectares Monsanto, Ninety-seven percent of sugar beet planted in the United States in was herbicide resistant James, USDA estimated that most of the 14, hectares of sugar beet planted in Canada in was herbicide resistant Evans and Lupescu, The question of the benefit of genetic engineering to farmers is tricky.

Who is the farmer in question? Most studies of GE crops in developing countries have focused on the benefits of the technology at the farm level. Most confirm that farmers have benefited from adopting and using the technology on the basis of such metrics as gross income, extent of insecticide use, and yields.

However, the question of benefits of genetic engineering by size of farmer land holding needs to be discussed in more detail. There are important differences among countries, crops, and type of production system. In addition, attention needs to be paid to the separation of benefits of crop improvement from conventional breeding and benefits of a GE trait. This section discusses the utility of both the existing GE trait—crop combinations and the technology itself to small-scale farmers. The committee considered small-scale farmers as defined in the studies examined.

Globally, small-scale farmers are considered to be those who manage 5 hectares or less, but this definition does not fit all small-scale farmers Box ; HLPE, ; MacDonald et al. The category of small-scale farmers includes those who are resource-poor—that is, they are constrained in terms of capital and labor. Farm size is generally seen as a proxy for or indicator of economic resources available to farmers. The committee received many comments asserting that commercially available GE crops have benefited large-scale farmers more than small-scale farmers.

The committee concentrated its review on these smaller operators for a number of reasons. Large-scale farmers of crops with GE traits have adopted them widely in the countries where they are approved; that circumstance, combined with the economic benefits reviewed above, leads the committee to conclude that genetically engineered IR and HR crops have generally been useful to these farmers so far. Whether those crops and genetic engineering itself are relevant to small-scale farmers is less clear, in part because they are such a diverse group with different livelihood portfolios and competing goals, only one of which may be yield optimization Soleri et al.

However, some of these trait—crop combinations, particularly Bt cotton, have been adopted by small-scale farmers in different regions of the world. Most of the studies focused on developing countries—India, China, and Pakistan—that have large numbers of smallholder farmers show gains from the adoption and use of GE crops.


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In the case of cotton, a substantial body of evidence shows that countries that have become world leaders in cotton production India, China, and Pakistan use Bt cotton and that the use of those varieties has created benefits to smallholder farmers. However, there is also evidence that the benefits of these crops to small-scale farmers in other regions have been mixed. Bt traits also did not protect cotton growers from potentially increased populations of secondary insect pests, whose control could be expensive in insecticide expenditures, labor costs, or time required.

In their comparison of 36 farmers who grew either Bt cotton Gossypium hirsutum L. In contrast, there was no correlation between how much farmers of Bt G. Glover pointed out that insecticide overapplication on Bt cotton fields was also observed by Qaim in India and Pemsl et al. Qaim and Pemsl et al.

Earlier studies of the economic returns to small-scale farmers from the adoption of Bt cotton in the Makhathini Flats of South Africa found gains. However, follow-up studies in the region—some conducted by the same authors as the original studies—have documented the poor long-term durability of the gains. Those studies pointed out the need for examining institutional issues related to the use of such technologies, especially in developing countries.

One study found that, despite labor savings, Bt cotton varieties in smallholder farming systems that were not operated intensively did not make economic sense because of the high price of seed and the continued need to spray chemicals for pests not affected by Bt Hofs et al. The Hofs et al. Initial adoption of Bt cotton was strong among smallholders in the Makhathini Flats in —, rising to nearly 3, farmers percent adoption rate in Gouse, The authors raised a cautionary tale about focusing only on the economic benefits without discussing the particular institutional context in which the cotton was deployed.

It supplied Bt seed but favored large-scale operations or entered into joint ventures with smallholders to operate their land as larger units. The number of independent smallholder farmers cultivating cotton Bt or non- Bt in the Makhathini Flats fell from 2, in — to in — Gouse, , Schnurr reported that average yield in — for smallholders was 8 percent greater than it was in — before Bt cotton was introduced , much different from the percent increase reported after the initial adoption period around In general, cotton production—GE or otherwise—has declined in South Africa for large and small farmers since the — season because of a downturn in the price of cotton compared with the prices of maize, soybean, and sunflower Helianthus annuus Gouse, Dowd-Uribe observed a similar connection between reliable credit and Bt cotton production in Burkina Faso.

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Those institutional supports could create longevity for the adoption of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso, the only African country with GE crop production in which smallholders farm most of the agricultural land. However, Dowd-Uribe expressed doubt about the value of GE cotton to resource-poor smallholders in Burkina Faso on the basis of his observations about the price of seed, the lack of refugia which is likely to lead to insect resistance , and government corruption.

One of the suggested reasons for the phase out is that the particular GE variety was deemed inferior to other non-GE varieties. However, the authors also documented various institutional challenges—such as loss of credit access, market disruptions, the failure to cross the Bt trait into local varieties, and the high cost of seed in South Africa and Burkina Faso—as related to declining interest in GE cotton Dowd-Uribe and Schnurr, Vitale et al. Bt and HR Maize. With regards to maize, Gouse noted that, although GE maize varieties had been widely adopted in South Africa by large-scale farmers, adoption by smallholders had been minimal because of the difficulty of getting seed to them.

In the Hlabisa municipality, where he conducted household surveys over eight seasons, he observed that farming was not the main income of smallholders, and this was also the case for most South African smallholders. A Bt variety of white maize was first commercialized in , and this was followed by an HR variety in and a Bt -HR variety in However, when it came to net farm income, the HR variety was the top performer over non-GE, Bt , and Bt -HR varieties in three of the four seasons, even though the Bt variety had greater yields in most seasons.

Surveyed farmers told interviewers that they were interested in having the HR trait incorporated into the older, less expensive, more drought-tolerant popular maize hybrid PAN commonly grown in the region. In an earlier study of the Hlabisa municipality, Gouse et al. This outcome then connects Bt varieties with the access to credit. Mutuc et al. The authors found—after taking into consideration and correcting for the effects of statistical biases and for the fact that some data for insecticide use are only partially known—a small but statistically significant effect of Bt maize adoption on yields and profits and reductions in the likelihood of insecticide use and demand.

The authors also showed an influence of Bt maize adoption in reducing fertilizer use. Their study obtained qualitative results similar to those of an earlier study by Mutuc et al. Also in the Philippines, Yorobe and Smale reported results of a study of maize farmers in 17 villages in Northern Isabela in Luzon and South Cotabato in Mindanao in — The total sample consisted of Bt and non-GE hybrid users.

The authors corrected for selection bias by using statistical estimation methods for biases and the effects of unobserved variables. The study showed that adoption of Bt maize increased yields and net farm, off-farm, and household income compared with non-GE hybrids. In —, all four varieties were compared. It is important to note that these studies tend to show that adopting farmers in the Philippines are better off—that is, have higher income, more education, and a favorable view of technology in general—than nonadopting farmers.

In contrast, Afidchao et al. The authors used purposive sampling, which implies that it is not statistically representative of the population and may lead to questions about the generalizability of the results. Farmers seem to have adopted GE maize because they were curious and because they expected better yields and insect control and reduced input costs. However, Afidchao and colleagues conducted a survey and found that some small-scale farmers who had adopted Bt maize did not think their economic status had improved after adoption of the technology.

About 25 percent of survey respondents who adopted maize with Bt and HR traits said that they no longer agreed with the statements that GE maize is worth investing in and could improve farmer livelihoods. In a study, Afidchao and colleagues assessed the economic effect of Bt , HR, and Bt -HR varieties of maize on Filipino small-scale farmers in one province; 14 the results are described in the section above on income effects.

With respect to benefits, the authors concluded that farmers with more economic capability were more likely to avail themselves of the advantages that GE crops offer. Farmers who could not afford herbicides were likely to continue manual weeding even when HR or Bt -HR varieties of maize were planted. Other farmers continued to use insecticides to control insect pests not targeted by Bt. That outcome could explain the results of their survey, which found that many adopters did not think GE varieties had been worth the investment. HR Soybean. As mentioned above in the discussion of income effects, HR soybean has been studied far less than other GE varieties.

HR soybean is the most widely grown GE trait—crop combination in medium-income and high-income countries; most of the hectares planted are produced on large farms in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina. One study of smallholders producing HR soybean in Bolivia was identified, with the caveat that small-. Those farmers made up 77 percent of soybean producers in Bolivia; large-scale operators managed farms of more than 1, hectares and made up only 2 percent of farmers.

It is of note that even small-scale Bolivian soybean producers had access to farm machinery. Smale et al. A problem reported by the authors was finding the small-scale nonadopters, who had different characteristics from adopters and were more likely to take advantage of a government program that would subsidize their production if they planted non-GE soybean. Nearly all HR soybean growers said that management of targeted weeds was easier than with non-HR soybean. Their yields were greater than those on non-HR soybean farms, and 76 percent reported that HR soybean production required less time devoted to labor by members of the family who were not the primary farm operator.

That reduction allowed family members more time to earn off-farm income, which contributed to the higher total household income of adopters than of nonadopters. They noted criticism has been made that small-scale farmers had no options other than HR soybean because of private-sector control of the seed and credit markets. It is not clear whether farmers wanted non-GE soybean varieties and did not get access to them or whether non-GE varieties are not available because there is no demand for them. Those questions need further research.

Bt eggplant had not been commercialized long enough or widely enough for the committee to assess whether smallholders will find this product useful. However, it is a GE crop that could provide benefits to smallholders. In India and Bangladesh alone at least 1. Eggplant fruit and shoot borer is frequently cited as one of the most destructive pests in the region Islam and Norton; ; Krishna and Qaim, He declined to comment on the utility of OPVs with the Bt trait—which private-sector developers had plans to make available to farmers at a minimal cost—because the varieties had not yet been brought forward for regulatory approval.

Andow also posited that the Bt trait would be less useful to smallholders than to large-scale growers because smallholders have more options to use damaged fruit than do large-scale growers. That is no longer the case Kolady and Lesser, A two-track approach was planned for the release of the technology, in which the private company MAHYCO would pursue hybrid Bt eggplant and two agricultural universities would pursue the development of OPVs of Bt eggplant.

The distinction that Andow made between the hybrids and the OPVs for regulatory purposes would therefore cease to be an issue. Regulatory approval for the trait in India is currently limited to a specific host variety; use of the genetic construct in other varieties requires an expedited permit. That used to be an issue when approval in the Indian system had to be for the event-variety combination, but this is not the case anymore. In most cases, IPM adoption is incomplete and net return may be much smaller. If Andow chose to have a relative number to separate adoption from partial adoption say adopt 5 of the 10 practices in the IPM package to be considered an adopter and the net return reflected that, this may not be an overestimation.

Furthermore, Andow cited incorrectly Krishna and Qaim , who compared Bt eggplant with non-GE eggplant, and stated that these authors base their estimates solely on experimental trials. In fact, Krishna and Qaim also conducted a survey of eggplant farmers in three states to calculate farm-enterprise budgets. Krishna and Qaim discussed pricing and the effect of the strategy of pursuing hybrids and OPVs for Bt eggplant in India. This is an important discussion in that it affects other public-private partnerships that seek deployment of GE crops to farmers in developing and even developed countries.

In their view, selling Bt eggplant OPVs at a much lower price than Bt eggplant hybrids may increase social welfare inasmuch as some resource-poor farmers, who previously were income-constrained or lacked access to credit, may be able to tap into the technology. However, some farmers who were planting eggplant hybrids may opt for the OPV Bt eggplant because it may have a lower cost.

The latter would affect the revenue stream for the private-sector developers. Kolady and Lesser reported on the results of a survey of farmers in Maharashtra, India, conducted in — Survey participants included eggplant and non-eggplant vegetable farmers who grew cultivated hybrid and OPVs. Results of the estimated adoption statistical model show that farmers using hybrids were likely to adopt a Bt hybrid eggplant whereas OPV eggplant farmers were likely to adopt a Bt OPV.

The proposed public—private partnerships that would develop Bt hybrids and OPVs for different farmer target groups had a reasonable chance of being successful. Farmers who have shown a preference for greater yields hybrid-eggplant farmers were likely to adopt Bt hybrids even if Bt OPVs were available at a lower price than the Bt hybrids. The ex ante studies reviewed above suggest there are economic opportunities for small-scale eggplant farmers associated with adoption of Bt hybrids or OPVs, but at the time the committee was writing its report, only a small number of farmers in Bangladesh were using Bt eggplant varieties.

The experience of smallholder Bt eggplant farmers remains to be seen. Virus-Resistant Papaya.

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Genetically engineered virus-resistant VR papaya was adopted rapidly in the U. Papaya production in the state had fallen by more than 30 percent from to because of the damage to fruits and ultimately the death of papaya trees due to papaya ringspot virus VIB, Hawaiian small-scale growers 0. The number of hectares planted with papaya held steady over that time. Scientists in China developed a VR papaya that targeted local strains of the ringspot virus in However, there are no additional inputs or capital investments needed to grow the GE variety; it is wholly substitutable for its non-GE counterpart Gonsalves et al.

Also, no economies of scale are peculiar to VR papaya relative to non-VR papaya, according to Gonsalves et al. Intellectual-property issues were negotiated for the Hawaiian-grown crop between public universities and the private sector, and the seeds were initially provided to growers at no cost. The United States is a small producer of papaya on the global stage.

VR papaya varieties to combat local papaya ringspot virus strains have been developed and field-tested but not commercialized in Brazil, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Jamaica, Thailand, Venezuela, and the Philippines Gonsalves et al.

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The reasons for the lack of commercialization include organized opposition by nongovernmental organizations, the absence of a biosafety regulatory framework, and consumer wariness of VR papaya Davidson, ; Fermin and Tennant, Therefore, although VR papaya appears to have many qualities that are conducive to production by small-scale farmers, its utility cannot be rigorously evaluated because it has been adopted in only two countries. The growth in adoption rates in the United States and China can be interpreted as preliminary evidence that papaya growers find the VR trait useful.

Apart from the benefits of any specific trait-crop combination, the amount of control that smallholders perceive to have over their own production practices and decisions may be an issue of concern related to existing GE crops. In one study in Brazil, smallholders interviewed felt that an adverse consequence of GE crops was the loss of control over their production practices and decisions Almedia et al.

Similarly, Macnaghten and Carro-Ripalda provided evidence that farmers in Mexico, India, and Brazil lack trust in the organizations and institutions responsible for delivering GE seeds and a concern about the loss of indigenous seeds. A study of Argentine smallholders found that many perceived that GE crops contributed to detrimental social changes, specifically, renting of their land for commercial production of HR soybean, which led to the loss of skills and identity as farmers and to rural emigration Massarani et al.

Neither states nor markets have been particularly successful at supporting opportunities for farmers to master new technology. A number of farmers in many parts of the world, including the United States, have expressed a loss of autonomy, often linked to declining profitability and the changing structure of agriculture beyond the introduction of GE crops Key and MacDonald, ; Pechlaner, However, many such traits that were designed with small-scale producers or poor consumers in mind were in development in As discussed in Chapter 5 , Golden Rice has been designed to have beneficial health outcomes for consumers in developing countries.

In its information-gathering phase, the committee heard about additional genetic-engineering efforts under way on McMurdy, ; Schnurr, :. These efforts are being supported by a number of private—public partnership models McMurdy, Schnurr posited that many of the GE crops, if commercialized, may be available to farmers with no technology fee for the GE traits. However, the only concrete examples that the committee had of how the technologies may be offered free as an intended policy are the Golden Rice project and Water Efficient Maize for Africa.

Some authors have argued that for the amount of investment in genetic-engineering approaches, solutions could have been found through non-GE means Cotter, ; Gurian-Sherman, and greater investments in agroecological improvements. Furthermore in some situations, other investments may have higher priority. For example, Tittonell and Giller argued that small-scale farmers in Africa cannot take advantage of improved plant genetics until soil fertility and nutrient availability are addressed. However, many traits being developed with genetic engineering are not attainable with conventional breeding or agroecological approaches.

For example, there is no resistance to maruca pod borer Maruca vitrata in sexually compatible relatives of cowpea Vigna unguiculata and no agroecological strategies that control the insect pest. The argument that non-GE approaches cost less needs to be qualified in the context of regulatory systems and of the development of the systems around the world. Several active stakeholder groups have pushed for more and more complex regulations, inclusion of broader social and economic considerations, and other policy developments, which probably have introduced additional regulatory barriers and may have increased time to and cost of deployment or reduced the technologies delivered to farmers Paarlberg and Pray, ; Paarlberg, ; Smyth et al.

Such policy outcomes were unquestionably influenced by political efforts by groups both for and against stricter regulation of GE crops Scoones and Glover, ; Schnurr, Some authors have indicated that the focus of commercialized traits on closing the gap between actual yield and potential yield and on the linkage of trait performance with such inputs as herbicides and insecticides ignores the priorities of some small-scale farmers Hendrickson, The committee has documented benefits of GE crops to small-scale farmers in this chapter and in Chapter 4 , but it recognizes that the traits, and sometimes the varieties in which a GE trait is available, are not appropriate for some small-scale farmers.

For example, in maize and sometimes in cotton, most GE traits have been bred into hybrid varieties, but hybrids—genetically engineered or not—may not be the best or most desired option for all farmers with respect to economic returns. When a truly appropriate hybrid is available, it will generally outperform the best OPV under any conditions including marginal production conditions without other inputs , but such hybrids often are not available.

Langyintuo and Setimela found that to be the case with maize in Zimbabwe. Although it might be most appropriate for countries to develop hybrids that fit into subsistence agricultural systems, such investments are rare. Production of OPV. Finally, many smallholder farmers grow crops for self-consumption rather than for the market, and their choice of variety to plant may be based on preferences and traditions quite removed from market considerations; an example is the South African maize farmers who would have preferred an HR trait in an older, locally grown, drought-tolerant variety Gouse, The committee heard from a number of presenters who stressed that for genetic-engineering technology to contribute to resolving issues of small-scale farmers, particularly those who are resource-poor, concurrent investments are needed in soil fertility, integrated pest management, optimized plant density, credit availability, market development, storage, and extension services Hendrickson, ; Horsch, ; McMurdy, ; Schnurr, That does not seem to be the case, as documented for Latin America Falck-Zepeda et al.

That approach needs to consider the overall investment strategies in developing innovative capacity in a country Box There is a growing body of evidence that GE crop adoption has benefited many farmers in developed and developing countries. It is noteworthy, however, that several studies report mixed results regarding the benefits of commercialized GE crops for small-scale farmers.

The higher price of GE seed and access to credit may have been important barriers—among other institutional issues—for some of these farmers to adopt the GE crops that have been commercially available since the s. Although the GE varieties often produce greater yields and sometimes reduce other input costs, the committee examined a few case studies in which it was not always economically feasible for small-scale farmers to adopt GE crops or to continue planting in seasons after initial adoption. When credit has been provided, small-scale farmers have tended to adopt the crops and have had some success, but adoption declines when credit options disappear.

Given those challenges, it is often the more economically prosperous small-scale farmers who plant GE varieties. There is evidence that HR maize in South Africa and HR soybean in Bolivia have been useful to smaller producers because the decrease in the time needed to plant seeds and weed fields has freed up family labor to pursue off-farm income.

However, a small number of studies and reports have suggested that some small-scale farmers in Brazil have also reported a loss of autonomy because of reduction in seed choices and because of farm consolidation since the introduction of GE crops. In some locations where GE crops were adopted and used, they did not prove economically advantageous to small-scale farmers in part because of credit constraints and the money and time spent on redundant insecticide applications.

Those outcomes indicate an initial lack of familiarity with genetic-engineering technology and the need for extension services for small-scale farmers, especially in initial deployment. The committee heard from several presenters that such services were necessary whether or not GE crops are adopted. It also heard that small-scale farmers need.

The benefits to small-scale farmers of the GE crops that were commercially available to them in depended on the crop and the agricultural situation. In many cases, such conditions as available credit, affordable inputs, and extension services appeared necessary for those farmers to find genetic-engineering technology advantageous. From the information presented to the committee and other available information, it seems likely that a number of GE crops developed with small-scale farmer needs in mind may be commercialized as early as Unlike the first generations of HR and IR maize, soybean, and cotton released earlier to farmers, the crops listed above were being developed in collaboration with research institutions in countries for which they are designated Chambers et al.

However, sustained gains will typically—but not necessarily—be expected in those situations in which farmers also had institutional support, such as access to credit, affordable inputs, extension services, and markets. Institutional factors potentially curtail economic benefits to small-scale farmers. FINDING: VR papaya is an example of a GE crop that is conducive to adoption by small-scale farmers because it addresses an agronomic problem but does not require concomitant purchase of such inputs as pesticides.

Policy-makers should determine the most cost-effective ways to distribute resources among those categories to improve production. Thus, the committee sought to examine the literature that it could find on different aspects of farmer knowledge as it pertained to GE crops, including the potential contribution of farmer knowledge in policy and regulatory formation, farmer-adaptive approaches to solving production constraints that GE crops also seek to address, and farmer skillsets as it relates to GE crops.

Furthermore, perceptions of risks associated with HR canola tended to increase among farmers of smaller farms. Focusing specifically on how regulatory regimes respond to the potential contamination of food through the open-air production of biopharm plants, Goven and Morris argued that regulatory regimes of the United States, the European Union EU , Canada, and New Zealand tend to exclude, even if unintentionally, farmer knowledge related to establishing regulatory policies. Settle et al. However, beyond small scale or temporary successes, adoption of IPM by small scale farmers is very low World Bank, ; Morse, ; Parsa et al.

Widespread implementation will require careful investment and confrontation of practical problems Parsa et al. Some researchers have suggested that GE crops are actually contributing to a loss of skills among farmers. One of the first studies to apply the concept to agriculture had to do with hybrid maize. Fitzgerald argued that hybrid maize meant that farmers no longer relied on their own knowledge for seed selection, which often came through years of experimentation and conversations among farmers.

Stone and Stone et al. They noted that agricultural deskilling preceded the arrival of Bt cotton in the district, with fads for some seeds being observed. In their analysis of 11 years of seed choices by farmers in the district, they found that the proliferation of Bt cotton seeds available to farmers created an environment that was inconsistent because insect-pest population size could not be correlated with Bt efficacy , unrecognizable because of the number of varieties available , and plagued by accelerated technological change Bt cotton had first reached the district in ; by , six Bt events were incorporated into different hybrids.

The confusion inherent in such an environment was, the authors concluded, consistent with exacerbation of agricultural deskilling Stone et al. Stone has acknowledged problems with using the concept of deskilling. Most notably, he stated that the concept implies the existence of an unrealistic, even romanticized, indigenous farmer skillset see also Tripp, a. Considerable attention has been given to farmer knowledge and practices related to the evolution of resistance in weeds and insects in GE cropping systems Llewellyn and Pannell, ; Mortensen et al.

In the United States, survey data from — revealed that most farmers were unaware that glyphosate-resistant weeds were evolving or that their actions were contributing to this evolution Johnson et al. In contrast, a survey of Iowa farmers showed that as of nearly one-third were aware that they had fields with weeds resistant to glyphosate and just over one-tenth indicated that corn rootworm Diabrotica spp.

Most of the surveyed farmers relied on and trusted their chemical dealers when faced with weed and insect-pest problems far more than they relied on or trusted any other source of knowledge, including the U. Arbuckle expressed concern because those findings indicated a sense of powerlessness and a lack of knowledge, whereas the evolution of resistance could at least be slowed with widespread and coordinated efforts.

However, the author concluded that Iowan farmers were ready to engage in coordinated resistance-management strategies that would involve an array of actors, including the private sector, commodity groups, farmers, and university personnel Arbuckle, Several studies have emphasized the importance of incorporating farmers into weed and insect pest-management programs Tripp, a ; Ervin and Jussaume, Mortensen et al.

Reliance on single or simple technologies such as HR crops does not provide such an approach. In the case of HR crops, overcoming the enticement of the short-term economic advantages of using one herbicide to instead focus on long-term economic benefits is one of the larger changes for mitigating the evolution of resistant weeds Ervin and Jussaume, A more systematic study of farmer knowledge is needed to improve the regulatory structures in which farmers function. Research is also needed to determine whether and to what degree genetic-engineering technology in general or specific GE traits contribute to farmer deskilling.

Few studies have explicitly focused on GE crops and gender Chambers et al. Women made up 20 percent of the agricultural labor force in Latin America, over 40 percent in Asia, 50 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, and 43 percent in all developing countries in FAO, In the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, the proportion of women in farming grew between and , though the proportion of women involved in agriculture declined in Japan and throughout Europe in general FAO, As research has focused on women, the emphasis placed on understanding gendered agricultural production systems has expanded.

A gendered analysis allows for recognition that agricultural practices undertaken by women and men differ in diverse locations, and these differences need to be acknowledged when conducting agricultural research and development Bock, The research on gender and genetic engineering in agriculture has focused primarily on developing countries Bennett et al. However, on the basis of previous analyses of gender and agriculture for example, Feldman and Welsh, ; Schafer, ; Sundari and Gowri, ; Prugl, , there is little doubt that gender is relevant to the adoption, production, and marketing of GE crops in both developed and developing countries.

There are constraints on access to education, information, credit, inputs, assets, extension services, and land Ransom and Bain, ; Quisumbing et al. Although the roles of women in agriculture in developed countries may differ from those of women in developing countries, the constraints on female producers have many similarities. Not unlike women in developing countries, women in developed countries have historically been marginalized from farming by being denied access to the material resources needed for success, such as land, labor, and capital for example, Leckie, Those gendered constraints are probably relevant to GE crops.

One major theme that has emerged from the few studies that have been done is that commercialized GE crops differentially affect men and women depending on the gendered division of labor and cultural roles. For example, in India, it was found that female laborers benefited from the increased work hours—and thus increased income—associated with increased yields from Bt cotton because women pick the cotton Subramanian and Qaim, Conversely, male laborers generally spray chemicals, so they saw a reduction in their labor time.

Similarly, a study of 32 small-scale farmers in the Makhathini Flats of South Africa found that the planting of Bt cotton was beneficial for women in the household; in this case, it was because women did not have to spray the crops, so their energies could be diverted to other activities Bennett et al. In Burkina Faso, fewer insecticide applications were needed for Bt cotton and that meant women spent less time in fetching water Zambrano et al.

In Bolivian households that adopted HR soybean, the second major contributor to production in the household—often the wife—had more time to work off the farm Smale et al. Female farmers in Colombia who adopted Bt cotton preferred IR varieties because they reduced the number of laborers needed, whereas men reported that Bt cotton increased yields and overall benefits Zambrano et al. In contrast, HR cotton in Colombia resulted in the hiring of fewer women for weeding, traditionally a female task Zambrano et al. Female maize farmers in the Philippines, whether they grew Bt varieties or not, reported that Bt saved labor, but men who planted maize did not note a time-saving aspect to either Bt or non- Bt varieties Zambrano et al.

Another theme that has received some support in the literature on GE crops in commercial production is the role of women in decision-making in farming households. In Colombia, in the case of Bt cotton, women were found to participate with men in decision-making and supervision of Bt cotton. Similarly, in the Philippines, women and men reported that they collaborated in most activities related to Bt maize, including decision-making Yorobe and Smale, ; Zambrano et al. The increasing. The issue of gender-appropriate technologies is also relevant to GE crops. In many regions, specific types of agricultural technologies are associated with masculinity; for example, large machinery, such as tractors, is usually seen as falling within the male domain Brandth, However, GE crops may fit within more traditionally female-associated technologies.

In specific regions, such as the United States and Europe, female farmers tend to be concentrated in alternative agricultural systems Chiappe and Flora, ; Peter et al. Dumit, J. Edge, D. Franklin, S.


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