Adoption and biosafety

Addressing biosafety and trade concerns can severely hold up adoption of GMVs. For example, even though Brazil spends more on agricultural research than any other Latin American country (Janssen, Falconi, and

Komen, 2000), and despite the significant potential for GM crops in Brazil, a controversial judicial decision concerning biosafety held up commercial production of these crops until very recently. However, even before GM crops are granted biosafety approval, farmers seem eager to use them. This was true in India, where a seed company illegally distributed GM cotton to farmers prior to approval by India's biosafety committee (Jayaraman, 2001). Farmers embraced the technology, although they did not know the seed was transgenic, and were more than willing to pay a higher price. Furthermore, farmers paid the seed company in advance for a supply of seeds the following season. The government, in response to the biosafety violation, ordered the illegal cotton to be burned. These incidents illustrate the willingness of farmers to adopt GM crops and ease in doing so, as well as the primary challenge for all developing countries—to balance the potential benefits from GM technologies with appropriate biosafety measures and trade concerns (with Europe and Japan in particular).

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