An enabling, evidence-based decision-making framework is critical to support agricultural biotechnology innovation, and to ensure farmers’ access to genetically modified (GM) crops, including orphan crop varieties. One key element, and often a challenge in the decision-making process, involves the balancing of identified potential risks with expected economic benefits from GM crops.
The International Food Policy Research Institute and economists from Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ghana recently analysed the expected economic benefits from the adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops in five sub-Saharan African countries. The results of their study show that substantial economic benefits are gained by both farmers and consumers from the timely adoption and planting in farmers' fields of GM crops through an efficient regulatory system.
The research paper published by Frontiers in Plant Science focused on case studies of the insect-resistant cowpea in Nigeria and Ghana, the disease-resistant cassava in Uganda and Tanzania, and the disease-resistant banana in Uganda. The results of the study highlighted the following:
The results underline the importance of a competent and efficient biosafety regulatory system being in place to guarantee that improved varieties reach farmers on time for beneficiaries to reap the intended economic benefits. Delays caused by R&D and regulatory compliance issues significantly reduce the rates of return.
The ISAAA analysis concludes that having an evidence-based, efficient, predictable and transparent regulatory system can potentially lead to farmers gaining timely access to safe and valuable GM crops.
Patricia Zambrano et al.: Opportunities for Orphan Crops: Expected Economic Benefits From Biotechnology, Frontiers in Plant Science, 23 June 2022.