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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Consumer acceptance for GM cassava

Guest post from Carolina Gonzalez (soon to be Dr.!) who is working on impact analysis for biosafety in CIAT:

Cassava farmer in ColombiaPlant breeders in CIAT are developing a genetically modified (GM) cassava with higher levels of provitamin A. However, this type of technology could face acceptance issues because of consumers concerns about health and environmental risk or potential ethical objections. For these reasons a ex-ante analysis  developed by DAPA researchers analyzed the public attitudes towards a GM provitamin A cassava in Brazil. Two papers summarized the main results. The first paper was titled “Consumer Acceptance of Second Generation GM foods: The Case of Biofortified Cassava in the Northeast of Brazil”; it was published in the Journal of Agricultural Economics  (Vol. 60, No. 3, 2009, 604-624). The second research paper, out this month, analyses what factors affect stakeholder positions towards GM food in Brazil. Whilst there is significant levels of potential acceptance in Brazil, there is still a proportion of the population that need convincing of the benefits.  Furthermore, from an environmental point of view, Brazil being a centre of origin for cassava with multiple wild species potentially in close proximity to GM cassava means that environmental risks also need to be taken into account.  The results are available in AgBioforum.

PS: Just to update, Carolina Gonzalez successfully defended her PhD thesis today, and this work formed part of that research.  Congratulations Carolina!

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