Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development
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Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

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.
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Chapter 23: The North American crop biotech environment, actors and rules

David Schimmelpfennig


By 1996, after ten years of experience with transgenic crops, there were eight countries in the world with applications for commercialization or actual approvals for sale of transgenic crops, counting the European Union as one country. Three of the seven non-EU countries were Canada, Mexico and the US (James and Krattiger, 1996). More revealing about the differences in attitudes towards these seed technologies between North American countries and the rest of the world is that Canada approved for commercial use all 10 applications it had in 1996. Mexico approved five out of five applications, but four were for imported crops only and one of those was for use only as feed. Of the 23 applications in the US by 1996, 20 were approved for sale and two of the remaining three were for crops that already had other biotech varieties approved for sale. The one remaining crop with an application was papaya and this virus-resistant variety developed by Cornell University and the Hawaii Growers' Association has recently been approved. In contrast to the record in North America, the other five countries had a total of 36 applications and only 11 were approved for sale. Approvals for sale of biotech varieties have led to their adoption: the countries with the highest rates of approvals in 1996 had among the largest areas under cultivation in 2010.

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