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Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2019-05-29 16:39 UTC (cjg072@mail.usask.ca)
Date of publication
2019-07-04 20:12 UTC (austein.mcloughlin@cbd.int)

General Information
Can Genetically Modified Crops Help the Poor? Options for Canada's Foreign Policy
Matthew A. Schnurr, Dalhousie University; Stuart J. Smyth, University of Saskatchewan; Genome Canada
Author’s contact information
Genome Canada
150 Metcalfe Street, Suite 2100
Ottawa, ON K2P 1P1

Telephone: 613-751-4460
Fax: 613-751-4474
Email: info@genomecanada.ca
Twitter: @GenomeCanada
  • English
Publication date
Summary, abstract or table of contents
Genetically modified crops dominate agriculture in North and South America, have been met with much reticence in Europe, and are of increasing importance in emerging economies such as India, China and Brazil. Enthusiasm for using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as an agricultural development tool is rising, spurred by significant investments by private corporations and international donors who promote GM crops as a means for improving yields and livelihoods. While the scientific research underpinning these new GM varieties is progressing rapidly, the social scientific evaluation of this new paradigm of agricultural development has struggled to keep pace. The socio-economic evaluation of these new breeding technologies for developing countries presents a range of possible policy options for donor nations. Some countries have invested heavily in scientific capacity and infrastructure to facilitate GMO commercialization, while others have been more reticent to endorse GMOs as a tool to help
achieve broader goals of agricultural development.
This brief surveys the implications of this emerging debate for Canadian policy-makers in order to help the Canadian government to consider whether to support the adoption of GMOs as part of agricultural development strategies. It presents five policy options for consideration: an 'all in' approach robustly supporting GM crops; a partnership approach focussing on the needs of smallholder farmers; a 'precaution through experience' approach emphasizing context-specific systems, community engagement and risk management; a participatory farmer-led approach based on a demand-driven model of experimentation; and a holistic approach focussing on underlying causes of food insecurity rather than technological solutions.
Thematic areas
Additional Information
Type of resource
  • Report / Review / Fact sheet / Notes
Publisher and its location
Genome Canada
© Genome Canada 2016
11 pages,
Genome Canada, Ottawa GPS Series, Policy Brief No. 12