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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Extra info for Assessing the impacts of agricultural biotechnologies: Canadian-Latin American perspectives : proceedings of a workshop held in Ottawa, Canada, 16-17 May 1995

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How is the structural adjustment process affecting the pattern of incentives and disincentives to farmers to introduce technological change in production? The research concluded that structural adjustment had mixed impact on income distribution among poor farmers and that special measures in favour of small-scale producers should be included in the design and sequencing of structural adjustment. Although producers might receive higher output prices, these were often offset by reductions in subsidies for fertilizer or improved planting material, combined with higher input prices.

The net employment effects induced by changes in the international trade pattern of tropical export crops need to be considered on a country-based analysis to be truly valid. The estimations and scenarios analyzed here are not predictions but rather reasoned evaluations of possible situations. A more concrete estimation procedure should include the possibility of offsetting price movements, which would alter the production and employment for certain export crops; the analysis of the country's possibility to increase production; an assessment of the import demand from developed and developing countries, which are in deficit in that commodity; and an assessment of the country's share in total world import demand based on an analysis of trends and other relevant factors that are beyond the scope of this paper.

It is assumed, for illustrative purposes, that the gradual replacement of coffee grains by other substitutes would result in a reduction of 20% in the demand of importing countries for the period 1990-95, 25% for 1995-2000, and 40% for 2000-2005. 0% per year as estimated by FAO's "agriculture toward 2000" scenario (FAO, Annex V, 1988). In the estimate, an increase of 15% each quinquennia from 1990 to 2000 was considered. e. 41 person-years/tonne. According to this scenario (Table 2), a decrease in employment will result even if production and internal consumption increases at rates expected for the period considered.

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