Impact Assessment of Agricultural Biotechnology in Developing Countries ± A Review Introduction

Impact assessment is a critical component of agricultural research, and it is a very challenging and complex task. Primarily it helps to define priorities of research and facilitate resource allocation among competing programs. But this activity also guides researchers, policy makers and those involved in technology transfer to have a better understanding of how the new technologies get disseminated to the farming communities, and how it impacts the target beneficiaries and other stakeholders. A better understanding of how new agricultural technologies (biotechnology) affect the farm households, economy and environment, will help in agricultural research priorities setting and efficient allocation of scarce research resources. Application of biotechnology for producing genetically modified (GM) crops has been one of the most debatable issues in agricultural research in recent years. While the protagonist vouch for its positive impact on yields and farmers¶ income, the opponents link the use of technology to adverse impacts on biodiversity, health and environment. The need of the hour is assess the impact of GM technology on the basis of scientific evidences. Several recent studies have analyzed the impacts of GM crops in developing countries, both from ex post and ex ante perspectives (e.g., Bennett et al., 2003, 2006; Gouse et al., 2006; Hareau et al., 2006; Huang et al., 2005; Pray et al., 2001; Qaim and Traxler, 2005; Qaim et al., 2006). The results of these studies show that adoption of insect-resistant Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) crops can bring about sizeable pesticide reductions and lead to productivity gains. Based on field trial data, it is shown that the technology can significantly reduce insecticide applications and increase effective yields, e.g., in case of cotton, corn and soybean which are grown by farmers on a large scale. Even in the case of the crops grown by smallholders in marginal areas (e.g., egg plant in India), the results show that the aggregate economic surplus gains of Bt hybrids could be around US$108 million per year, and though consumers stand to gain a large share of these gains, farmers and the innovating company also benefit from such technology (Krishna and Qaim, 2008). A recent report has also projected substantial economic benefits for research and development activities that have been undertaken for the purpose of commercializing GM products (ringspot virus resistant papaya, insect resistant Bt eggplant, multiple virus resistant tomato and late blight resistant and insect resistant Bt potato) to solve major insect and disease problems in the Philippines and Indonesia. The most likely scenario ± considering the various assumptions about supply elasticities, type of market, adoption rates, yield changes and discount rate ± shows a substantially higher net present value for each bioengineered product in the Philippines and Indonesia (Norton and Hautea, 2009).

The plant biotechnology for producing GM crops has emerged as one of the most innovative technologies in agriculture for improvement of crops which include food, fibers, fruits, vegetables, and plantation crops. Globally, the major biotech crops are planted in 125 million

However. the experimental data about the performance of GM crops is generally not available to the public for closer scrutiny which sometimes raises further doubts about the real potential of GM crops. health impacts of reduced pesticide use) of biotechnology for agriculture sector in India. and put in place an effective institutional mechanism for harnessing the potential of GM technology. wherever possible. Objectives 1. IPRs) are not well understood. Bt cotton in India). To document efficiency. Approach The proposed study would draw upon the available research studies from various parts of the world. Further. these studies mainly focused on yield improving and/or cost reducing impacts of GM crops (e. substantial benefits have been documented from adoption of biotech crops by small and resource-poor farmers. and to highlight the importance of institutional issues which have bearing on the adoption of GM crops. and have given little attention to the process of GM technology dissemination and adoption. To review the important GM technologies applied to different crops globally. Only a few studies have attempted to estimate other impacts (e. Therefore. reports of the expert groups and committees. .. The methodological framework would aim at the following: y Comprehensive review of available empirical evidences on the impact of GM technology in agriculture. 2. the proposed study would attempt to understand these issues. sustainability and equity impacts of GM crops at the farm and economy level. and the work done for strengthening the institutional framework for handling introduction of biotech crops in India. In developing countries also.g. So far the researchers have attempted only to capture tangible impacts of crop biotechnology.hectares in more than 25 countries which is an evidence of farmers¶ approval of the GM crops. Notwithstanding the tangible benefits of biotechnology. particularly in developing countries..g. To outline the components of an effective institutional framework for wider adoption of GM technology in agriculture.. delivery and ownership (e. the proposed review study envisages to document the impact of GM technology particularly in developing countries. For example. the institutional issues related to technology generation. public awareness about the actual impact of any GM technology plays crucial role in its adoption and use by the farmers.g. 3. specifically for the Indian agriculture. How do we ensure that GM technology is available at reasonable price to the small and marginal farmers in marginal environments and help them in enhancing their livelihood security? What can be the institutional mechanisms to tackle the monopolistic tendencies which might arise to appropriate the gains from proprietary technology? Drawing upon the lessons from relevant empirical works. The outputs of the study would be useful for researchers and policy makers to focus their efforts on GM crops¶ delivery and adoption in such a way that it has wider economic impacts.

backwardforward linkages Saving of land. improvement in soil fertility. etc. which may be further refined depending upon the nature of technology. higher production/ exports. rates of return Sector level Growth in AgGDP. Impact indicators While documenting the impact of biotechnology in agriculture. These are the broad indicators. conservation of biodiversity Poverty alleviation. and lessons drawn from experiences in implementation of institutional framework for introduction of GM crops. development of agriculture in marginal areas Employment generation for rural women Health and education Farm level Increase in farm income. Health and education Sustainability Natural resource management. and commodity under consideration. Share of benefits accruing to small and marginal farmers and agricultural laborers. decline in production risk Sustainable use of land and water. water quality. Economic welfare of women. change in cropping pattern. water.y Socio-economic impacts of the agricultural biotechnology. energy etc due to higher productivity. nutritional security Equity Gender Change in the ownership structure of operational land holdings Other . reduction in hazardous chemicals Employment generation. Criteria Efficiency Economy level Contributions to GDP. the focus would on the following impact indicators. reduction in drudgery. etc.

2001. 2006.. Qaim and Traxler. 2009 Lesser et al. 2009. 2005. 2003.. ISAAA. 2005. 2006. 2006 . Huang et al. 2008 Kolady and Lesser.References Bennett et al. Hareau et al. Krishna and Qaim.. 2006... 1986 Pray et al. Gouse et al. Qaim et al..

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