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This review of scholarly literature explores a key concern of IFPRI?s: whether biotech crops can benefit poor farmers. The authors examine the issue by emphasizing the methods applied to empirical data from developing countries, because these methods influence the nature of economists? findings and how they interpret them. The authors consider the economic impacts of biotech crops not only on farmers, but also on consumers, the agricultural sector as a whole, and international trade. They have also compiled a web-bibliography, bEcon, which is available to researchers, particularly those in developing countries, as a tool to further their own understanding of the evidence.

The authors conclude that biotech crops have promise for poor farmers. Further in-depth investigation is required. Bt cotton is by far the most studied biotech crop, but analysis of the economic impacts of other crops has only begun. Impacts on poverty, inequality, health, and the environment need more rigorous exploration.

Smale, Melinda et al
Journal Articles
International Food Policy Research Institute
International Food Policy Research Institute