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Developing Nations and Agricultural Biotechnology: Poverty, Possibilities, Patents Drew L. Kershen Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing Nations and Agricultural Biotechnology: Poverty, Possibilities, Patents Drew L. Kershen Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 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

3 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

4 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 --

5 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

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 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”

11 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

12 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

13 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

14 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),

15 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 , 2001)  Matin Qaim & David Zilberman, Yield Effects of Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries, Science (2003) 299:  Howard Atkinson et. al, The case for genetically modified crops with a poverty focus, Trends in Biotechnology (March 2001) 19(3), 91-96

16 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)


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