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APRIL 2010

New Research Examines Whether Biotechnology Is Relevant to Poor Farmers
International humanitarian organization Oxfam America hosted a panel today discussing the continuing controversy over the potential impact of genetically modified (GM) crops in developing countries.

Washington, D.C. - infoZine - Despite its importance to two-thirds of the world’s population (and 80 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa), agricultural development has experienced a systematic decline in funding over the past 40 years. However, the current state of global crisis has breathed new life into arguments to support agricultural development.

“Feeding the world with scarce resources in an environment increasingly affected by climate change is one of our most important global challenges. It must be addressed in a way that meets a second challenge – helping millions lift themselves out of poverty in the process of agricultural development,” said Kimberly Pfeifer, Head of Research at Oxfam America.

Today’s panel discussion focused on the findings of the recently released book, Biotechnology and Agricultural Development: Transgenic Cotton, Rural Institutions and Resource-Poor Farmers, edited by Robert Tripp, one of the panelists. The research, commissioned by Oxfam America, assesses the socioeconomic impacts of genetically modified, insect-resistant cotton – or transgenic cotton – by examining its use by smallholder farmers in four developing countries with years of experiences with GM technology: India, South Africa, China, and Colombia.