Table of Contents

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Elgar original reference

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.

Chapter 1: Introduction to agriculture, biotechnology and development

Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, biotechnology, environmental sociology, innovation and technology, biotechnology


Evidence is playing a greater and more conspicuous role in the shaping and management of public and private organizations and the rules that govern them. Decision-makers rely on evidence and must account for its use, but the processes for creating, normalizing and disseminating knowledge, as well as the standards for the evidence itself, are widely debated, discussed and documented. Apart from the theories and typologies of evidence generation and evaluation, one crucial variable underpinning and defining effective uptake and use of new knowledge is often missing: timing. In the context of emerging technologies where the knowledge base is incomplete, the timing of knowledge generation and use can determine the fate of technologies. This is especially true in the dialogue about when, where and how society should adapt, adopt and use new science-based inventions in the global agri-food system. The emergence of biotechnology in the global system has triggered a broad range of individuals and groups asserting that the technology is, or is not, appropriate to the context and needs of global agriculture and development. Careful consideration of the quality and provenance of evidence will always matter, but so too does the vital question of when is the best time to disseminate knowledge, especially as it relates to innovative concepts and products? While every case of agri-food biotechnology innovation is different, some general rules about when and how to disseminate information apply.