Access to Biotech

Photo: Picking cotton in Gujarart. Photo: Unloading a delivery. Photo: Rice harvest. Photo: Picking corn.

In 2013, millions of farmers in 27 countries planted genetically modified (biotech) crops (ISAAA, 2013).  As these crops are engineered to produce plants that can resist insect pests, control weeds, increase yields and tolerate drought and submergence, they have the potential to increase food production for the hungry in developing countries, but many barriers remain.

Through the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation, a team of Rutgers researchers and international collaborators have been examining the factors--social, economic, proprietary--that influence public policy makers' decisions to accept, delay, or reject the cultivation of GM seeds by farmers and the consumption of foods made from GM crops.

The grant, Assessing barriers to GM food crop production and innovation in China, India and Africa (Grant No. 29148), will examine the role that consumer, business and environmental interest groups have in influencing policy making, and evaluate supply chain and intellectual property rights constraints in accessing GM crops and technologies.   The results will be used to inform scientific innovation, regulatory practice, economic investments, trade negotiations, and GM policy.

The research is led by Dr. Carl Pray of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics (DAFRE) at Rutgers University.  Along with Professor Gal Hochman, Professor William Hallman, Associate Dean Xenia Morin and Executive Dean Robert Goodman, the project team brings over 60 years of experience studying GM crops.  International collaborators include Dr. Jikun Huang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing; Dr. Ruifa Hu from the Beijing Institute of Technology; Dr. Bharat Ramaswami of the Indian Statistical Institute (Delhi Campus), India; and Dr. Latha Nagarajan of the International Fertilizer Development Center. Dr. Hu in China has also brought additional funding from the Chinese Natural Science Foundation to this area as a result of participation in the Templeton project.
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  1. Rutgers
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Access to Biotech