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Crop Biotech Update

Suppressing Growth: Opposition to GMOs Hurting Developing Nations

March 16, 2016

A new study published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and authored by Val Giddings, Robert D. Atkinson, and John Wu reveals how opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) hurts developing nations. According to the report, campaigns against GMOs, originating primarily in Europe, have created significant obstacles to the development and adoption of genetically modified crops. The authors emphasized that the restrictive climate for agricultural biotech innovations could cost low- and lower-middle-income nations up to US$1.5 trillion in foregone economic benefits through 2050.

Opponents of agricultural biotechnology have argued that GMOs would benefit only industrialized nations, and would price farmers from developing nations out of the market. The authors wrote that these groups were wrong. Experience and data have shown that crops improved through biotechnology provide significant benefits for farmers. Biotech-improved seeds are even more important to farmers in developing countries than in developed nations, because the former have less capacity and access to other innovations that boost productivity (e.g., modern tractors, etc.), but they can afford improved seeds. This is the reason why farmers in developing nations plant more biotech-improved seeds than farmers in industrial nations, despite massive European and advocacy group efforts to discourage them.

For more details, read the summary of the report, or download the full report on the ITIF website.