Genetically modified (GM) food crops have the potential to reach the hungry in developing countries, but many barriers remain. The main barrier for some countries is the development of a regulatory bio-safety framework. For many more countries regulatory frameworks do exist, but regulators and policy makers are now the major barriers to GM seed. Moreover, developing countries face barriers to local innovation, and thus acceptance, due to difficulty gaining access to proprietary GM traits and research tools. Rutgers University, collaborating with partners in China, India and Africa, will assess the determinants of the current regulatory and policy barriers to GM adoption and local innovation. We will first assess the role of consumer attitudes to GM and the pressures from economic interest groups in creating the current policies by surveying policy makers and groups that seek to influence them. Second, we will look at which groups in the maize and rice supply chains would benefit or lose from GM maize and rice technology and examine the possibility that high food prices, experience with GM technology, new GM technologies, climate change and other factors might change the view of these interest groups and unblock the constraints. Third, we will do an in depth examination of access to proprietary GM technology by local seed companies in India, China and Africa and of the programs that governments and donors are using to help companies get around this constraint. The results will inform scientific innovation, regulatory practice, economic investments, trade negotiations, and GM policy via publications, a 2-day conference, and the influence of our collaborators on policies. These new data and policy insights will influence the development and spread of GM crops in the developing world.
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