Transfer of technologies and the delivery of products

Institutions to link the results of research to the delivery of products adoptable by developing country farmers and particularly smallholders include the following:

i) Public and nonprofit sector roles in (1) the insertion of new traits in poor farmer crops and varieties with insufficient current market size to provide private sector incentives, (2) the assembly of idiosyncratic technological packages for smallholder farming that combines traits controlled by gene insertion with functions delivered by other approaches such as chemical pest management, integrated pest management, and agronomic practices.

ii) Incentives to the private sector to invest in research for developing country needs when there is insufficient effective demand due to poverty.

This can be done through a guaranteed purchase fund set up by donors, analogous to that for research on vaccines for tropical diseases like malaria (Kremer, 2001).

iii) Coordination of private sector initiatives toward market expansion among smallholders, allowing them to overcome the commons problem typical of such investments.

iv) IPR incentives and availability of low cost technology to insert new traits into a wide range of alternative varieties, allowing better adaptation to local conditions, preservation of biodiversity, and competitive farming (as opposed to generalized contracting by patent holders).

v) Development of a regulatory framework for biosafety and consumer protection that corresponds to each country's preferences for risk and expected income gains, which change with stages of development. Attempts to equalize regulations affecting agbiotechnology in the name of harmonization, for instance, to satisfy WTO requirements, should be scrutinized for their impact on the poor.

vi) Decentralization of the monitoring and enforcement of biosafety regulations to the community level, based on community contracting and verification by regulatory agencies.

vii) Emphasis on simple technologies with low biosafety risks (e.g., Rhizobium inoculation in Kenya) for as long as knowledge of environmental risks and enforcement of regulatory frameworks remain weak.

viii) Discriminatory pricing of genetically modified seeds if market segmentation between poor and nonpoor is possible.

ix) Subsidies to private marketing strategies that promote adoption of new technologies favorable to poverty reduction.

x) Promotion of the private sector to deliver integrated services to smallholders combining GMOs and other technological approaches.

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