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Land for Food and Fuel Production: The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology

Land for Food and Fuel Production: The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology

Chapter:
(p.269) 8 Land for Food and Fuel Production: The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology
Source:
The Intended and Unintended Effects of U.S. Agricultural and Biotechnology Policies
Author(s):
Steven SextonDavid Zilberman
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226988061.003.0009

Agricultural production must grow in order to feed and fuel a global population that is at once increasing in size and wealth. Because of growing concern about climate change and biodiversity loss, production may need to grow without expanding into natural lands. This chapter provides new econometric analysis of aggregate farm yields that suggests that among adopting farms, agricultural biotechnology boosts yields of the four main crops in which it has been introduced. Consistent with the theory developed in this chapter, it has been found that the yield gains are greatest in developing countries, which are generally characterized by high pest pressure and limited access to insecticides. The chapter also shows that the yield effect of GE crop adoption is growing over time, suggesting that learning effects have dominated the effects of expansion into less suitable applications and the development of resistance.

Keywords:   global food crisis, agricultural chemicals, agricultural biotechnology, European Union, biofuel, GE crop

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