Developing Country Farmers Bridge the “Biotechnology Divide”

22.02.2013

Technology + Policy

Published 22 February 2013 by by Calestous Juma

Critics of agricultural biotechnology have long contended that it would not benefit farmers in developing countries. Their concerns were not unjustified. A large number of technologies continue to be restricted to industrialized countries despite their global relevance.

Farmers in developing countries, however, are bridging the “biotechnology divide.” According to a new report by Clive James of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), “For the first time, developing countries grew more, 52% of global biotech crops in 2012 than industrialized countries at 48%.”
 
The report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2012, notes that this is “contrary to the predictions of critics who, prior to the commercialization of the technology in 1996, prematurely declared that biotechnology were only for industrial countries and would never be accepted and adopted by developing countries.”