Assessing the impacts of agricultural biotechnologies: by Brent Herbert-Copley, International Development Research

By Brent Herbert-Copley, International Development Research Centre (Canada)

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Crow, M. 1993. National systems of workable concept. Technology in Society, vol. 15. ; Sutat, S. (forthcoming). Biotechnology and sustainable agriculture: The case of Thailand. Technical Paper. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Development Centre, Paris, France. R. 1995. Crop biotechnology and sustainability: A case study of Colombia. Technical Paper No. 4. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Development Centre, Paris, France. L. 1995. Biotechnology and sustainable agriculture: The case of Mexico.

In some cases, demand exceeds supply. The case of biopesticides presents a contrasting picture. A number of governments are involved in trying to promote the diffusion of biopesticides to reduce dependence on chemical products, and research on biopesticides is being supported in public institutions. Unfortunately, the inadequate technical capacity of public institutions to produce biopesticides efficiently and to ensure consistent quality results in a lack of acceptability and effective demand on the part of farmers, and lack of interest on the part of the private sector in production and commercialization.

Individual research projects and programs are often undertaken in the absence of clearly defined national priorities for biotechnology. In addition, biotechnology is not generally integrated within the. broader national policy and institutional framework; for example, with the priorities set for agriculture and food production, science and technology policies, and environmental policies. " Research effort is highly concentrated in the public sector, sometimes in newly established biotechnology institutes, with very little involvement on the part of the private sector, although, as indicated in the following, efforts are being made to strengthen public/private sector collaboration.

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