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Genetically Modified Rice, Yields and Pesticides: Assessing Farm-level Productivity and Health Effects in China
Working Paper

Although genetically modified crops are being grown on increasing larger areas in both developed and developing countries, with few minor exceptions, there has been almost no country that has commercialized a genetically modified major food crop. One reason may be that is unclear how the commercialization of genetically modified crops will help poor, small farmers. The objective of this paper is to report on the results of an economic analysis that uses three years of data from a series of quasiexperimental areas in China's GM rice program that were carried out in the fields of small and relative poor producers in two provinces in China. The paper attempts to answer two key questions: Does GM rice help reduce pesticides in the fields of farmers? Do the new varieties of GM rice increase the yields of farmers? Based on the results, the paper shows that the use of GM rice by farmers in pre-production trials allows farmers to reduce pesticide use and labor input, increase yields and improve their health. The paper concludes by arguing that the commercialization of GM rice in China could have consequences that exceed the direct impacts on China's farmers and could be a key step in breaking the world's current plant biotechnology logjam.

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