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Cotton, biotechnology, and economic development

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  • Baffes, John

Abstract

During the past decade, cotton prices remained considerably below other agricultural prices (although they recovered toward the end of 2010). Yet, between 2000-04 and 2005-09 world cotton production increased 13 percent. This paper conjectures that biotechnology-induced productivity improvements increased supplies by China and India, which, in addition to keeping cotton prices low, aided these countries to cap-ture market share from (and cause losses to) non-users of biotechnology. By contrast, with a single exception, Africa has not adopted biotechnology and, not coincidentally, its cotton output declined by more than 20 percent between the first and second half of the past decade. The paper concludes that the development implications of biotechnology go beyond cotton and Africa. High energy prices have been an important driver of the recent commodity price boom. Therefore, investment and policy strategy responses to a cost-driven boom should be consistent with cost-saving alternatives. Biotechnology clearly meets this challenge.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5896.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5896

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Related research

Keywords: Crops&Crop Management Systems; Markets and Market Access; E-Business; Emerging Markets; Economic Theory&Research;

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  1. Anderson, Kym & Valenzuela, Ernesto & Jackson, Lee Ann, 2006. "Recent and prospective adoption of genetically modified cotton : a global computable general equilibrium analysis of economic impacts," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3917, The World Bank.
  2. Paul Cashin & C John McDermott & Alasdair Scott, 1999. "The myth of co-moving commodity prices," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G99/9, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  3. M. Ataman Aksoy & John C. Beghin, 2005. "Global Agricultural Trade and Developing Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7464, August.
  4. Anderson, Kym & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2006. "WTO's Doha Cotton Initiative: A Tale of Two Issues," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5567, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Deb, Partha & Trivedi, Pravin K & Varangis, Panayotis, 1996. "The Excess Co-movement of Commodity Prices Reconsidered," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(3), pages 275-91, May-June.
  6. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2006. "Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6889, August.
  7. Kym Anderson, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives : A Global Perspective, 1955-2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9436, August.
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