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 34: Lessons from the California GM labelling proposition on the state of crop biotechnology

David Zilberman, Scott Kaplan, Eunice Kim and Gina Waterfield

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


In the California State election on 6 November 2012, Proposition 37 was introduced to require mandatory labeling of food sold to consumers that was made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. This measure failed to pass with 51.5 per cent of Californian voters opposing it and 48.5 per cent in favor after proponents of the legislation led in the polls by a large margin in the early days of the election campaign (see Figure 34.1). The campaign and the public debate surrounding genetically modified (GM) foods prior to the election was just one battle in a long struggle to shape policies that would impact the fate of crop biotechnologies in the US. The intellectual exchanges, rhetoric and tone of the campaign, as well as the result of Proposition 37 provide insight on biotechnology in the context of agriculture. This chapter analyzes some of these lessons and discuss their implications for the future of agricultural biotechnology.

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