Food security through biotechnology: The case of genetically modified sugar beets in the United States

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Copyright © 2017 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights reserved. While genetically modified (GM) crops have provided tremendous agricultural productivity gains, many consumers oppose GM products and maintain they are unsafe. We use the case of GM sugar beets and their adoption by the US producers to examine the implications of GM technology on food security. A partial equilibrium framework is used to examine the implications of GM technology on food security. This analysis provides a unique opportunity to examine the impact of GM adoption in one product (sugar beets) relative to non-GM adoption in a substitute product (sugarcane). This analysis examines the potential gains to food security through the adoption of biotechnology versus consumer fear of GM technology. Research and development (R&D) has potential implications not only through its impact on supply, but also on demand as well. This study shows that demand impacts can negate the supply-induced food security gains of R&D. Regulations such as mandatory labeling requirements can impact this outcome.

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Frontiers of Economics and Globalization

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