IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Costing the ex situ conservation of genetic resources: maize and wheat at CIMMYT


  • Pardey, Philip G.
  • Koo, Bonwoo
  • Wright, Brian D.
  • Van Dusen, M. Eric
  • Skovmand, Bent
  • Taba, Suketoshi


Worldwide, the number of genebanks and the amount of seed stored in them has increased substantially over the past few decades. Most attention is focused on the likely benefits from conservation, but conserving germplasm involves costs whose nature and magnitude are largely unknown. In this paper we compile and use a set of cost data for wheat and maize stored in the CIMMYT genebank to address a number of questions. What is the cost of storing an accession of either crop for one more year, or, equivalently what is the benefit in terms of cost savings from eliminating duplicate accessions from the genebank? Relatedly, what is the cost from introducing a new accession into the genebank, given the decision to store it is revisited after one year? Does it make economic sense for CIMMYT to discard accessions that may be available elsewhere? As an extension of this line of inquiry it is possible to value the benefits from either consolidating genebanks or at least networking existing banks to reduce or eliminate duplicate holdings not needed for backup safety purposes. We present estimates of the size and scale economies evident in the CIMMYT operation as a basis for assessing the economics of consolidation. Genebanks represent a commitment to conserve seeds for the very long-run. In this study we report on these long-run costs for the CIMMYT genebank costs that are sensitive to the interest rate used and the protocols for periodically replenishing accessions that are shared with others or regenerating accessions whose viability gradually diminishes with age.

Suggested Citation

  • Pardey, Philip G. & Koo, Bonwoo & Wright, Brian D. & Van Dusen, M. Eric & Skovmand, Bent & Taba, Suketoshi, 1999. "Costing the ex situ conservation of genetic resources: maize and wheat at CIMMYT," EPTD discussion papers 52, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:52

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1991. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 43-61.
    2. Paul Klemperer, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 113-130, Spring.
    3. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1996. "Protecting Early Innovators: Should Second-Generation Products Be Patentable?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 322-331, Summer.
    4. Tom Lee & Louis L. Wilde, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-436.
    5. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
    6. Wright, Brian D., 1997. "Crop genetic resource policy: the role of ex situ genebanks," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 41(1), March.
    7. Glenn C. Loury, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410.
    8. Ted O'Donoghue & Suzanne Scotchmer & Jacques-François Thisse, 1998. "Patent Breadth, Patent Life, and the Pace of Technological Progress," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, March.
    9. Howard F. Chang, 1995. "Patent Scope, Antitrust Policy, and Cumulative Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 34-57, Spring.
    10. Horowitz, Andrew W & Lai, Edwin L-C, 1996. "Patent Length and the Rate of Innovation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(4), pages 785-801, November.
    11. Carmen Matutes & Pierre Regibeau & Katharine Rockett, 1996. "Optimal Patent Design and the Diffusion of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 60-83, Spring.
    12. Haller, H. & Chou, T., 1995. "The Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation Reconsidered," Papers 9564, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
    13. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Falck Zepeda, José & Barreto-Triana, Nancy & Baquero-Haeberlin, Irma & Espitia-Malagón, Eduardo & Fierro-Guzmán, Humberto & López, Nancy, 2006. "An exploration of the potential benefits of integrated pest management systems and the use of insect resistant potatoes to control the Guatemalan Tuber Moth (Tecia solanivora Povolny) in Ventaquemada,," EPTD discussion papers 152, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Linacre, Nicholas & Falck-Zepeda, José & Komen, John & MacLaren, Donald, 2006. "Risk assessment and management of genetically modified organisms under Australia's Gene Technology Act:," EPTD discussion papers 157, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Caracciolo, Francesco & Gotor, Elisabetta & Holloway, Garth J. & Watts, Jamie, 2008. "The Origin, Development And Structure Of Demand For Plant Genetic Resources. The Impact Of The In Trust Agreements To The CGIAR Collections Availability," 82nd Annual Conference, March 31 - April 2, 2008, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, UK 36773, Agricultural Economics Society.
    4. Paul J. Block & Kenneth Strzepek & Mark W. Rosegrant & Xinshen Diao, 2008. "Impacts of considering climate variability on investment decisions in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(2), pages 171-181, September.
    5. Gruère, Guillaume & Giuliani, Alessandra & Smale, Melinda, 2006. "Marketing underutilized plant species for the benefit of the poor: a conceptual framework," EPTD discussion papers 154, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Gruère, Guillaume P., 2006. "An analysis of trade related international regulations of genetically modified food and their effects on developing countries:," EPTD discussion papers 147, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Gotor, Elisabetta & Caracciolo, Francesco & Watts, Jamie, 2010. "The Perceived Impact of the In-Trust Agreements on CGIAR Germplasm Availability: An Assessment of Bioversity International's Institutional Activities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1486-1493, October.
    8. Di Falco, Salvatore & Chavas, Jean-Paul & Smale, Melinda, 2006. "Farmer management of production risk on degraded lands: the role of wheat genetic diversity in Tigray Region, Ethiopia," EPTD discussion papers 153, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Smale, Melinda & Zambrano, Patricia & Falck-Zepeda, José & Gruère, Guillaume, 2006. "Parables: applied economics literature about the impact of genetically engineered crop varieties in developing economies," EPTD discussion papers 158, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:52. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.