Derek G. Brewin
University of Manitoba
University of Lethbridge
This article is a broad assessment of the effect of biotechnology on canola in Canada. We examine the effects of biotechnology on the canola industry in terms of area, varieties, and yields, as well as the returns to research and firm-level benefits. Evidence of the privatization of the canola industry is seen in the dominance of the private sector in the registration of new canola varieties. The latest development in the sector is the dominance of a few private firms, which raises new concerns.
However, the literature and our calculations indicate considerable benefits from canola research and recent technological advances. The area seeded to canola varieties, the number of varieties available, and canola crop yields have been on an upward trend for 50 years. Current producer benefits were estimated to be more than $1 billion and breeding firm returns were more than $700 million.
Key words: Biotechnology, canola, mergers, plant breeding, returns to research, technical use agreements.