AgBioForum
Articles in Press
An Economic Account of Innovation Policy in Canada: A Comparison of Canola, Wheat, and Pulses
S. Malla & D.G. Brewin

There is significant evidence that investments in agricultural research generate gains to farmers and the economy as a whole. The objective of this paper is to provide an assessment of the biotech industry in Canada including an update of producers’ benefits from herbicide tolerant canola, comparisons of gains with other crops, and the need for government involvement. The study also assesses the evolution of research policies in Canada over time, exploring the role of government in today’s crop research. The study develops a framework to analyze options for agricultural research, including property rights, subsidies to private researchers, and public research in the context of three representative case studies: canola (a large crop with significant privatization in plant breeding), wheat (a large crop without significant privatization), and pulses (a small crop with adequate crop development funding through check-offs). Current challenges and opportunities facing crop innovation are also discussed.

 

Glyphosate Use in Asia and Implications of Possible Restrictions on its Use
G. Brookes

This study examined the farm level implications of restrictions on glyphosate use. These are likely to be higher weed control costs, poorer levels of weed control, increased incidence of pests, lower yields and loss of benefits associated with no tillage and the adoption of GM HT crops. There is likely to be more use of alternative herbicides and additional use of manual, mechanical, and cultural weed control methods. These changes are expected to increase the annual cost of weed control across the seven countries by between $22/ha and $30/ha. In relation to the environmental impact associated with herbicide use, it is likely to result in a small decrease in the total amount of herbicide active ingredient used across the seven countries (-1% to -11%) although in terms of the associated environmental impact, as measured by the EIQ indicator, the average EIQ load/ha would increase by between 0.4% and 11.6%, highlighting a net poorer environmental outcome.

 

Biotechnology and Demand Concerns: The Case of Genetically Modified US Sugar Beets
P.L. Kennedy, A. Schmitz, & K.L. DeLong

While genetically modified (GM) crops have provided significant agricultural productivity gains in recent years, some consumers oppose GM products as being unsafe. We use the case of GM sugar beets and their recent adoption by US producers to examine the effect of GM technology using a partial equilibrium framework. This analysis provides insights on the demand for sugar from GM US sugar beets versus sugar from non-GMO US sugarcane. We show that the negative demand impacts for sugar from GMO sugar beets can outweigh the supply-induced gains of GM sugar beet research and development. However, this is not likely to come about by mandatory labeling given the recent adoption of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which does not classify sugar as a bioengineered food.


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