23. Technological innovations in latin american agriculture.
Program Papers Series No. 4 of the Inter-American Institute for Coop. on Agriculture (IICA), San Jos_, Costa Rica; ISSN 0046-0028; 1987, 86 pp + appendices
This paper discusses some of the issues in the field of biotechnology within the context of the debt crisis in Latin America and its effects on the region's agricultural sectors. In analyzing the issues, the authors highlight their effects on the behaviour of the region's technological systems. More important, they also point out their implications in terms of the agricultural technology policy options open to Latin American countries at this time.
This report is written to identify a feasible strategy that attributes to agriculture a key role in the reactivation of the Latin American economies and, to technical change, a key role as an important source of growth and of dynamic comparative advantages.
The paper is organized as follows:
- Technological discontinuities: Adjustment to the crisis and biotechnology
In more detail the paper starts by reviewing in Part 2 the implications of the debt crisis for Latin American agriculture, most particularly for market prices and government expenditures. The authors then analyze in Part 3 the past patterns of the rate and bias of technological change, contrasting the periods before and since the beginning of the debt crisis. In Part 4, they look at the organization of public sector research and how it has been affected by the crisis. Part 5 is devoted to the role of several agents in the private sector in the generation, transfer, and diffusion of technological change. This includes input suppliers on the side of backward linkages, agroindustries on the side of forward linkages, and producers' associations. Finally, in Part 6 the authors identify several major features of the biotechnology revolution and discuss how they create both opportunities for and threats to Latin American agriculture. Finally the paper concludes in Part 7 with a number of important policy implications.
Concluding, there is little question that biotechnology will transform agriculture in the next 30 years.
Because biotechnology will speed up the technological treadmill, increase production, and put downward pressure on prices, peasants will become increasingly marginal producers without assistance.
Biotechnology will not solve the social problems of Latin American agriculture; unless considerable effort is given to mitigating its impact, it will clearly worsen inequality, flowing only to those who can afford to adopt it.
For technology to play its role and contribute effectively to agricultural development and economic growth, action is required in terms of policy design as well as funding, organization and management of the technological process.
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Farming systems research and development
Review, reference book, agricultural compendium, tropics, subtropics
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