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 3: Structure of public research

Richard Gray and Buwani Dayananda

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


Biotechnology has profoundly impacted agricultural research. Molecular science has vastly increased the scope of what is understood and what can be understood about crop and pest genetics. This explosive growth of knowledge changes the possible, both in terms of the speed of genetic development and the scope of outcomes. Importantly, biotechnology has also enabled better protection of genetically related intellectual property, changing the incentives for private crop breeding. Beginning in the mid-1980s, these new incentives attracted significant new private investment followed by a period of industry mergers and acquisitions as several firms acquired the pools of intellectual property required to become leaders in agricultural biotechnology (Fulton and Giannakas, 2001; Graff et al., 2003). In the mid-1990s there was a widespread acquisition of seed firms as the firms heavily invested in biotechnology realized they needed access to locally-adapted germplasm and seed marketing channels (Howard, 2009). Private firms tend to dominate breeding in those few genetically modified (GM) crops (for example maize, soybeans, cotton and canola) in those jurisdictions where GM cultivars can be commercialized - mainly USA, Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada (James, 2011). Private investment is also largely a developed country phenomenon: the private sector is responsible for over one half of total research expenditures in developed countries while private investment makes up less than 10 per cent of total agricultural investment in developing countries (Pardey et al., 2006).

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