Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II
Supporting agricultural development through biotechnology
Bio-Engineered Crops in Developing Countries
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Toward the end of ABSPII, our biotechnology impact assessments will provide forward-looking strategic evaluations of the market-level consequences of our product commercialization packages, paying close attention to the agro-ecological, market, and infrastructural-cum-policy aspects that directly affect the local, regional, and global prospects and consequences of the technologies. These impacts are central to understanding the full economic consequences, including the total benefits and costs and their distribution around the world – in terms of the well-being of producers and consumers, especially the world’s poorest men and women – when particular technologies are adopted. The Cornell Consortium will systematically prepare for these impact studies throughout the life of the program by establishing baseline data and designing monitoring
The impact assessments will consider a wide variety of potential benefits and costs. For example, direct economic benefits might arise when a new pest-resistant GM crop reduces unit costs of production by lowering pest losses or pest control costs. Benefits might also include lowered yield risk (e.g., in drought prone areas). Less direct benefits might result from nutritional gains, either through the unit cost reductions or through nutritional enhancement such as vitamins and minerals. Human health or environmental costs might be reduced when biotechnologies reduce the need for pesticides. Further health and economic benefits might be realized through creation of new products, such as locally produced low-cost livestock vaccines from GM plants. Costs associated with biotechnology include research costs, potential risks to human health, and risks to the environment as a result of impacts on non-target organisms. Biotechnology adopters might introduce their own production, market, and income risks if consumer demand for GM crops is low or if policy design and implementation is ineffective.
Impact assessment will provide information directly relevant to the research and technology development priorities of the ABSPII project and place that effort in the broader context of public and private research that generates biotechnological tools and products to alleviate the food security concerns of poor people in poor countries.
Market level Analysis
The market level analysis will consider the size of the national, regional, and global market for the commodity (currently and projected), factors influencing the timing and rate of aggregate adoption, and the value of the commodity. Other factors such as projected cost reductions, yield increases, and quality change associated with specific biotechnologies will be considered. Regulatory constraints and IP issues that might affect the development and release of the technologies would be addressed.
Benefits of the biotechnologies are likely to be distributed differentially by location, farm size, gender, and income level, between consumers and producers, and among the various players in the input and marketing chains in addition to the public at large. The analysis will assess these distributional effects, comparing potential scenarios with or without the biotechnology innovations developed under the project. Because access to inputs requiring cash, such as GM seed, are frequently low for women farmers and poor male farmers, the potential benefits and probability of adoption among these groups will be of particular interest.
Structured consultations will be held with producers, consumers, scientists, and other public and private stakeholders to gather information needed in the assessments. The best available technical evidence will be pooled, along with the judgment and opinions of experts from the public and private sectors involved in this consortium (and others working elsewhere where needed) to develop a series of case studies of the most economically important crop/technology/agroecological combinations.
Farm-household Level Analyses
In addition to the strategic market-level evaluations, farm-household level analyses will be carried out. These studies will include
- participatory assessments of needs
- factors that may facilitate or constrain adoption,
- factors that may influence intra-household distribution of benefits.
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