Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 44: Economic success but political failure? The paradox of GM crop s in developing countries
Genetically modified (GM) crops have been rapidly adopted in many developed and developing countries, including by resource-poor farmers, since they were first commercialized in 1995. An extensive body of peer-reviewed economic literature confirms that farmers benefit from the cultivation of GM crops under a wide range of agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions and that the economy-wide welfare gains are shared among adopting farmers, consumers and technology suppliers. Despite the growing evidence of positive farm-level and economy-wide impacts, the commercialization of new crops and traits has been blocked at the final approval stage (after being cleared on biosafety grounds) in a number of countries, paradoxically in some countries where first-generation GM crops have been the most widely adopted. While European Union (EU) legislation provides for ex post monitoring and reporting on the socio-economic implications of the deliberate release and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol provides for socioeconomic assessments of the deliberate release into the environment of living modified organisms (LMOs), very few countries explicitly consider ex ante socio-economic assessments in their regulatory decision-making processes for GMOs. Nevertheless, many countries do so implicitly. It has been suggested that the explicit incorporation of socio-economic assessments could facilitate the decision-making process for the commercialization of GM crops by separating the science-based, biosafety assessment from the political process of decision-making (Lusser et al., 2012).
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