Differences In Gmv Use And Impacts Between Developed And Developing Nations

The results from our conceptual model enable us to analyze patterns of pesticide use across locations. We can distinguish between countries according to several factors including their level of pest infestation and their pricing of pesticides and pest-control technologies. The levels of pest infestation vary across locations. More humid regions are subject to higher levels of infestation than regions with dry climate. Thus, they have higher potential for yield loses. The humid, more pest-prone regions tend to be closer to the Equator, while the dryer, cooler regions are closer to the Poles. Many of the developing countries in these areas of Africa, South Asia, and South America are subject to higher pest pressure than the developed countries with temperate and even cold climates.

The cost of pest-control technologies also varies across locations. Generally speaking, we expect the fixed cost-to-output-price ratio (fixed cost of pesticides divided by output price) to be smaller in developed rather than developing countries due to output price subsidies and the larger scale of operations in developed countries that reduce application costs per unit. We expect the pesticides-to-output-price ratio (variable cost of pesticides divided by output price) to be higher in most developing countries than in the developed ones.

These differences in basic parameters will lead to different impacts of biotechnology in developing and developed countries. Given these considerations, we expect that when biotechnology is adopted in developed countries much of its impact will be in terms of pesticide-use reduction. The relatively low cost of pesticide use will tend to lead to intensive use of pesticides. The yield effects will be low, given that initial infestation levels are relatively mild and prior use of pesticides has controlled pest damages. Only when GMVs address a pest problem without prior treatment do we expect a significant yield effect. The strength of the breeding sector in countries like the United States suggests that they will attempt to modify many varieties, and the yield losses due to the transition from local varieties will be small. In contrast, the high pest pressure in many developing countries and the high cost of pesticides suggest that the adoption of GMVs, while reducing pesticide use, will have a strong yield effect. These effects are likely to be smaller in China, where pesticides are subsidized, and be very high in Africa where application rates of pesticides are relatively small.

Thus, certain policies are likely to increase the adoption of GMVs in developing countries. For example, discriminatory pricing recognizing the differences in impacts across regions is likely to enhance adoption. Moreover, the availability of local GMVs and affordable pricing of the new seeds are likely to be key factors for adoption in developing countries.

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