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The Economics of Agricultural Biotechnology

  • Carl E. Pray
  • Anwar Naseem

This paper examines the economic determinants and impacts of agricultural research, particularly biotechnology research, with a view to understanding the potential of agricultural biotechnology to address the needs of the poor in developing countries. It surveys public and private agricultural research in developed and developing countries since the green revolution and discusses the public goods nature of much agricultural research. Unlike the research that launched the green revolution, agricultural biotechnology research is primarily being conducted by private firms in industrialized countries to address problems of temperate-zone commercial agriculture. These differences have important implications for the development and diffusion of new technologies to meet the needs of the poor. This paper was prepared as background material for the 2003 issue of The State of Food and Agriculture, which has the theme “Agricultural Biotechnology: Meeting the Needs of the Poor?” Several companion papers are also available in the ESA Working Paper series.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 03-07.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0307
Contact details of provider: Postal: Agricultural Sector in Economic Development Service FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00153 Rome Italy
Phone: +39(6) 57051
Fax: +39 06 57055522
Web page: http://www.fao.org/es/esa/
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  1. Michael Lipton, 2001. "Reviving global poverty reduction: what role for genetically modified plants?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 823-846.
  2. Pardey, Philip G. & Beintema, Nienke M., 2002. "Slow Magic: Agricultural R&D A Century After Mendel," Working Papers 14364, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.
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