Dr. C. Ford Runge Against Trade Restrictions on Biotech Crops

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Notable economist cites significant potential benefits for poor farmers in developing countries

In 2003-04, approximately $44 billion in value was being produced worldwide from biotech crops, according to research conducted by Dr. C. Ford Runge, Director of the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy (CIFAP) at the University of Minnesota. The research appears in a consulting report for the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI).

“At the macro level, the impact of the technology is only beginning to be felt. So every year, I would anticipate that that value figure will grow. Biotech crops will play a more and more important role in the global crop economy,” Runge says in a new video available at biotech-gmo.com.

“My only real interest is that plant biotechnology not become an excuse for restricting trade that’s a potential benefit not only to our farmers in the United States, but especially to poor farmers in developing countries,” Runge continues.

Dr. Runge’s research demonstrates there is increasing adoption of biotech crops, with the potential for a major expansion of planted acreage still to come. Research on new GM crops is also robust, with efforts ongoing in 57 plant species across 63 countries, including programs in Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa.

“It is an extremely powerful and important emerging technology. And it’s going to play its role and part depending on the degree to which it can be made available, appropriate and friendly – especially to poor farmers in developing countries,” says Runge.

“The question that has been raised in some quarters is whether or not transgenic crops are only for big, rich farmers.” According to Runge, the answer is no. “The reason for this goes back to the fact that the advantages of the technology are inherent in the seed.”

To view the short video featuring Dr. C. Ford Runge, visit Monsanto’s Conversations about Plant Biotechnology website: http://www.monsanto.com/biotech-gmo/new.htm
The opinions and information offered are those of Dr. C. Ford Runge and not the University of Minnesota.


Michael Doane

Monsanto Company



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