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 21: Clusters, innovation systems and biotechnology in developing country agriculture

David J. Spielman, Douglas Zhihua Zeng and Xingliang Ma

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


Industry clusters have historically played a central role in economic growth and development - a point that was initially recognized by Adam Smith ([1776] 1993) and expanded on by economists and historians ever since. Clusters are highly interdependent production and distribution networks that are populated by specialized firms and allied business services and are concentrated across a geographical or thematic dimension. Clusters are often driven by strategic alliances between private firms or non-commercial or quasi-commercial actors such as universities, public research organizations, technology transfer programs, knowledge brokers and other similar agents. In effect, a cluster is a concentration of enterprises that generates collective efficiencies or 'agglomeration effects' by leveraging complementarities, economies of scope and scale, technology spillovers and other efficiency gains and positive externalities (Porter, 2000; Schmitz and Nadvi, 1999; Schmitz, 1995). Theoretical and empirical inquiries into clusters cover a range of topics, including the conceptualization and measurement of net gains from labor pooling, technology spillovers and market access (Krugman, 1991); division of production tasks and reductions in capital barriers to entry through intra-industry credit linkages (Ruan and Zhang, 2009); accumulation and application of appropriate technologies (CaniÎls and Romijn, 2003); spillovers of complex, tacit knowledge between firms (Cohen and Levinthal, 1989); spillovers that are external to firms and appropriable by individuals (Audretsch, 1998); and cluster-based firm-level learning modalities (Parrilli and Asheim, 2012).

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