Agricultural Biotechnology - University of Oklahoma

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Developing Nations and
Agricultural Biotechnology:

Poverty, Possibilities, Patents

Drew L. Kershen

Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law

University of Oklahoma

Copyright 2003, Drew L. Kershen all rights reserved

The Seed


The agronomic traits are in the seed


no other input
needed to gain access to the technology


not all biotech
traits equally useful to poor farmers or every farmer


Similarity to hybrids but hybridization is primarily about
yield directly and the trait diminished rapidly from one
plant generation to the next


Farmers may save seeds


IPRs, GURTs


Contrast to Green Revolution


fertilizers, irrigation,
pesticides, herbicides


extraneous inputs

Structural & Economic Implications


Scale neutral


the seed advantage accrues equally
to any sized farmer


Economic calculation


more expensive seed versus
potential return


ordinary calculation


Hybrid calculation is identical on cost of seed versus
potential return


No changes in horticultural practices


farm as before
with transgenic seed


Structural & Economic Implications


Scale positive


may benefit the smaller farmer more than larger farmer


Minimal learning curve


No additional inputs


wealthier farmers already use inputs


Increased yield


not the trait itself but the protection from loss


Reduced labor requirements


other opportunities with labor


Increased safety with reduced pesticide use


people, water


Greater food security; greater flexibility in farming


subsistence farmers especially


Starvation


Malnutrition


Key


access to seeds


assistance for the poorest farmers to acquire the seeds


Public research


Private seed companies


Not a magic bullet for economic development


Infrastructure


Roads, Markets


Governmental reform


political instability, corruption, agricultural policy


Free trade


Technology as Poverty Alleviation
--




Structural Stabilization


Niche markets


value
-
added crops


Functional foods; pharmaceuticals; alternative crops


Environmental constraints


Adapted for drier climates


drought tolerance


Salt
-
tolerant


Metal tolerant
--

aluminum


Environmental compliance


No till cropping


Environmental compliance, regulatory compliance is not scale neutral


small entities
adversely affected


Reduction of the footprint of agriculture


impact on forests, habitats, biodiversity


May allow smaller farmers to have better risk management and slow the pace of
structural change



High
-
yield agriculture and Environmental Benefits

Hypothesis


If separate the technology from the structural changes


The technology itself appears scale neutral and potentially scale positive


The technology itself holds great promise for environmental benefits


If the hypothesis is accurate


Implications for developing world


In 2001, 75% of farmers growing
transgenic crops were resource
-
poor farmers (i.e. 2 hectares or less) in the
developing world


Major constraint is governmental policies that encourage or discourage
adoption


Good reasons for farmers and nations to be positive and early
adopters of the technology

Case Studies
--

Countries


China


Bt cotton


commercialized


4/5 Million small farmers


Rapid adoption


33%


½
-

2/3 reduction pesticides


10% yield increase


Fewer insecticide poisonings


Increased income


85% of benefits
to the farmers


Technological capacity


Public investment


$100M to $450M in 2005


Private investment


Seed market



South Africa


Bt cotton


commercialized


KwaZulu Makhathini Flats


3,600 poor farmers


cash crop


92% adoption rate


2001


11 sprays to 4 sprays


fewer
poisonings


24% to 48% yield increase


Increase income (approx. 30%)


Bt white corn


significant yield
increase and pesticide reduction


HT soybeans


Technological capacity


Most advanced in Africa


Biosafety law functioning

Case Studies
--

Countries


India


Bt cotton


field trials


Yield increase 37% to 90%


Spray reduction


½ to ¾


Significant income increase


Bt cotton


commercialized


Private and boot
-
legged


2002


debate about results


2003


watch farmers


in Andhra
Pradesh from 8300 h. (2002) to est.
100,000 h. (2003)


Technological capacity


Indian Land
-
grant system


Transgenic mustard, peanut,
chickpea, pulses, eggplant


Philippines


Bt corn


Commercialized 2003


Field trial data


Yields increased 41%


Production cost


poor farmers had
38.5% lower costs


Income increase


poor farmers
86% increase


Rice


Ex ante study on Golden Rice


significant health benefits
--

blindness and deaths prevented


Ex ante study on Bt Rice
--

$296.6M


66.5% captured by producers


Technological capacity


IRRI,
Land
-
grant universities

Case Study
--

Crop


Rice


Golden Rice


vitamin A


blindness, death


High Iron Rice


anemia


High
-
Quality Protein Rice


improve essential amino acids


Potato


Transgenic potato for nematode control


Bolivia


University of Leeds, UK


Protato


Improved protein


protein genes from amaranth


Indian Institute
of Science, Bangalore, India


Banana


Black sigatoka mold


50% yield loss common


Uganda


Transgenic resistant


e.g. Dr. Rony Swennen Catholic University of Louvain,
Belgium


created in 1994 but no field trials


Constraints


Pressure Groups &

Scientific Ignorance


Ingo Potrykus: “Genetic engineering


contributions to food security depends
nearly exclusively upon the failure of a radical anti
-
GMO industry.”


Food Scares


Greenpeace lies include claims that using transgenic crops and
their products will cause sterility (India) or homosexuality (Philippines)


Food Aid
--

Zambia


Governmental Policies


Promotional, Permissive, Precautionary, Preventive


Regulatory Burdens


Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety


Codex Alimentarius


Ingo Potrykus: regulatory delay of 3 to 4 years for transgenic rice


“in
essence causing the unnecessary deaths of millions of people”

Poor Farmers and Patents



Patents are domestic law


No international patent exists


U.S. patent or E.U. patent has no legal validity outside


Developing nations generally do not protect patents


Poor farmers unlikely to have legal concerns


Commercial agriculture and trade


Patents for Poor Farmers


Humanitarian clauses


Licensing


concessionary terms


Freedom to Operate opinions and agreements


Golden Rice as the example

Poor Farmers and Patents


Public Research


CGIAR and NAR institutions


China, India, and Philippines


Declining support


funding needs to be increased greatly


Universities


basic research and applied research


Farmers and Saving Seeds


Legal in most nations; patent law generally says “no”


Farmers as plant breeders


adapt to local varieties


Farmers as knowledgeable participants


needs and interests


Gujarat, India


significant % in Bt
-
cotton from non
-
authorized varieties


Brazil


commercial soybean farmers


Conclusion


Agricultural Biotechnology


greater benefits to
developing nations for food security and food
safety


Urgency of the situation


Opportunity lost? Ideology triumphant?


Greatest Risk is the risk of not using


Patents are not a significant barrier to access to the
technology for poor farmers

References


Asian Development Bank, Agricultural Biotechnology, Poverty
Reduction and Food Security (May 2001)


Economic Commission for Africa, Harnessing Technologies for
Sustainable Development in Africa (August 2002)


Clive James, Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops:
2001 (ISAAA, Dec. 2002)


Carl Pray et. al, Impact of Bt Cotton in China, World Development
(May 2001) 29(5), 1
-
34


Carl Pray et. al, Five years of Bt cotton in China


the benefits
continue, The Plant Journal (2002) 31(4) , 423
-
430

References


Yousouf Ismael et al, Biotechnology in Africa: The
Adoption and Economic Impacts of Bt Cotton in the
Makhathini Flats, Republic of South Africa,
Biotechnology Conference for Sub
-
Saharan Africa (Sept.
26
-
27, 2001)


Matin Qaim & David Zilberman, Yield Effects of
Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries,
Science (2003) 299:900
-
902



Howard Atkinson et. al, The case for genetically modified
crops with a poverty focus, Trends in Biotechnology
(March 2001) 19(3), 91
-
96

References


Leonardo Gonzales, Likely Transcendal Effects of Agri
-
Biotechnology: The Case of Bt Hybrid Corn in the Philippines,
Symposium on Bt Technology, UPLB
-
CA Foundation (Laguna,
March 2002)


Roukayatou Zimmermann & Matin Qaim, Projecting the Benefits of
Golden Rice in the Philippines, ZEF Discussion Paper 51 on
Developmental Policy (Bonn, Sept. 2002)


Cesar Mamaril, Transgenic Pest Resistant Rice: An Ex
-
ante
Economic Evaluation of an Adoption Impact Pathway in the
Philippines and Vietnam for Bt Rice, M.A. Thesis in Agricultural &
Applied Economics (VPI, Jan. 2002)