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Genetic Engineering in Agriculture: Who Stands to Benefit?

  • Christian J. Peters
Article

Abstract

The use of genetic engineering inagriculture has been the source of much debate. Todate, arguments have focused most strongly on thepotential human health risks, the flow of geneticmaterial to related species, and ecologicalconsequences. Little attention appears to have beengiven to a more fundamental concern, namely, who willbe the beneficiaries of this technology?

Given the prevalence of chronic hunger and thestark economics of farming, it is arguable thatfarmers and the hungry should be the mainbeneficiaries of agricultural research. However, theapplication of genetic engineering appears unlikely tobenefit either of these two groups. This technology islargely controlled by the private sector, and itscontinued development hinges on its profitability.Thus, the only likely beneficiaries of the applicationof genetic engineering in agriculture are companieswith the capacity to use it.

Agri-biotech companies agriculture biotechnology existing technologies farmers farm crisis genetic engineering hunger poverty productivity 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian J. Peters
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil, Crop and Atmospheric SciencesCornell UniversityIthaca

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