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

Steven Sexton and David Zilberman

in The Intended and Unintended Effects of U.S. Agricultural and Biotechnology Policies

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780226988030
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226988061 | DOI:
Land for Food and Fuel Production: The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology

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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

Chapter.  7625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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