Golden Rice and the Looming Gmo Trade Debate: Implications for the Poor

25 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2004

See all articles by Kym Anderson

Kym Anderson

University of Adelaide - Centre for International Economic Studies (CIES); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Australian National University

Chantal Nielsen

Danish Research Institute of Food Economics (FOI) - Agricultural Policy Division

Date Written: January 2004

Abstract

The first generation of genetically modified crop varieties, currently most widespread in the maize and soybean sectors, sought to increase farmer profitability by improving agronomic traits. The next generation of biotech research is focusing also on breeding for attributes desired by consumers. Although not yet commercially available, a new variety of rice, known as 'Golden Rice', has been genetically engineered to contain a higher level of vitamin A. Thus, in contrast with the current commercial applications of biotech crops, this new rice variety aims directly at benefiting consumers rather than producers. More specifically, it aims at improving the health of poor people in developing countries who rely on rice as their main staple food (or would do if it was cheaper) and whose diet is nutrient-deficient. This Paper analyses empirically the potential economic effects of such an innovation in an environment of heated debates about the risks and benefits of these biotech developments. The emergence of genetically modified foods is generating policy reactions that are delaying the development and adoption of what promises to be a high-payoff technology, particularly for the world's poor. These policy reactions may lead to trade disputes, in which case the way this GMO issue is addressed in the WTO's dispute settlement body could have profound implications for poor households in developing countries.

Keywords: GMOs, golden rice, rice policy, WTO agreements, consumer preferences

JEL Classification: C68, D58, F13, O30, Q17, Q18

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Kym and Pohl Nielsen, Chantal Maria, Golden Rice and the Looming Gmo Trade Debate: Implications for the Poor (January 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=508463

Kym Anderson (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - Centre for International Economic Studies (CIES) ( email )

School of Economics
Adelaide SA 5005
Australia
+61 8 8313 4712 (Phone)
+61 8 8223 1460 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Australian National University ( email )

Arndt-Corden Dept of Economics
Coombs Building
Canberra, AK ACT 2600
Australia
+61 8 8313 4712 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://publicpolicy.anu.edu.au/crawford_people/content/staff/acde/kanderson.php

Chantal Maria Pohl Nielsen

Danish Research Institute of Food Economics (FOI) - Agricultural Policy Division ( email )

Rolighedsvej 25
1958 Frederiksberg C
Denmark
+45 3 528 6864 (Phone)
+45 3 528 6800 (Fax)

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