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Genetically Modified Rice, Yields, and Pesticides: Assessing Farm-Level Productivity Effects in China

Listed author(s):
  • Jikun Huang
  • Ruifa Hu
  • Scott Rozelle
  • Carl Pray

Although genetically modified (GM) crops are being grown on increasing large areas in both developed and developing countries, with few minor exceptions, there has been almost no country that has commercialized a GM major food crop. One reason may be that it is unclear how the commercialization of GM crops will help poor, small farmers. The objective of this article is to report on the results of an economic analysis that uses 3 years of data from a series of quasi-experimental areas (called preproduction trials) in China’s GM rice program that were carried out in the fields of small and relatively poor producers in two provinces in China. The article shows that the use of GM rice by farmers in preproduction trials allows farmers to reduce pesticide use and labor input. The effect on yields is less clear, and the findings suggest that there is very little if any yield effect. The article concludes by arguing that the commercialization of GM rice in China could have consequences that exceed the direct impacts on China’s farmers and could be a key step in breaking the world’s current plant biotechnology logjam.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/522898
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 56 (2008)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 241-263

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:56:y:2008:p:241-263
DOI: 10.1086/522898
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/EDCC/

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  1. Huang, Jikun & Hu, Ruifa & Pray, Carl & Qiao, Fangbin & Rozelle, Scott, 2003. "Biotechnology as an alternative to chemical pesticides: a case study of Bt cotton in China," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 29(1), pages -, July.
  2. Jin, Songqing & Huang, Jikun & Hu, Ruifa & Rozelle, Scott, 2001. "The Creation And Spread Of Technology And Total Factor Productivity In China'S Agriculture," Working Papers 11981, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  3. Huang, Jikun & Hu, Ruifa & van Meijl, Hans & van Tongeren, Frank, 2004. "Biotechnology boosts to crop productivity in China: trade and welfare implications," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 27-54, October.
  4. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1994. "Impact of hybrid rice on input demand and productivity," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 153-164, April.
  5. Prabhu L. Pingali & Gerald A. Carlson, 1985. "Human Capital, Adjustments in Subjective Probabilities, and the Demand for Pest Controls," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 67(4), pages 853-861.
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