ISAAA Statement: Socio-economic Considerations

I speak on behalf of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). ISAAA is a not-for-profit organization that works towards ensuring food security, poverty alleviation and farmers’ freedom of choice to innovations for sustainable agriculture through use of modern biotechnology. Our goals clearly align to Sustainable Development Goals where modern biotechnology has vast potential towards their achievement.

ISAAA commend the hard work of experts in coming up with the “Guidance document on the Assessment of Socio-economic Considerations” in the context of Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol. ISAAA believes that socio-economic considerations are crucial since generation of new technologies and their adoption should offer benefits to producers and users.

ISAAA urges parties of the Protocol to recognize that biotech innovations now cover 10% of the total arable land and have delivered the net economic benefits at farm level estimated at $186 billion over last 2 decades. The farm economic gains accrued to over 17 million smallholder farm families is due to lower production costs and significant increase in productivity. ISAAA recommends that these socio-economic benefits shall form the classic examples of methodologies for socio-economic considerations.

Finally, ISAAA recommends the elements of socio-economic considerations to be taken into account in all assessments should include: positive impact on stakeholders’ incomes and welfare, international trade and market access, effects on food safety and security, health and be consistent with national regulatory frameworks and policies.

Dr. Margaret Karembu
ISAAA AfriCenter Director