"Patterns of Political Response to Biofortified Varieties of Crops Produced with Different Breeding Techniques and Agronomic Traits"
Journal Article, AgBioForum: The Journal of AgroBiotechnology Management & Economics, Special Issue: Biofortified Food Crops: Progress and Prospects in Developing Countries, volume 10, issue 3, pages 135-143
Authors: Carl Pray, Robert Paarlberg, Former Advisory Board Member, Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project; Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project/Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2007–2008, Laurian Unnevehr
This article first examines the political response to two crops that were nutritionally enhanced through conventional breeding—Quality Protein Maize (QPM) and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. In the next section, the political response to food crops—maize, potato, and papaya—which have improved agronomic traits through genetic engineering is described. Finally, we mention briefly the initial political responses to biofortified GMO rice, potatoes, cassava, and sorghum. To gain political support as well as extensive adoption by farmers, biofortification needs to be combined with attractive agronomic traits. These case studies also show that only GMOs have elicited a strong negative political response and that the consumer trait, biofortification, is not likely to make GMOs more appealing to activists and politicians. However, political opposition to GMOs can be outweighed by well-organized, politically powerful interest groups.
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