ESA Working Paper No. 04-08



The Economic Impacts of
Biotechnology-Based Technological

Greg Traxler


PDF (303 KB)

Agricultural and Development Economics Division
The Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations



Global adoption of transgenic crops reached 67.7 million hectares in 2003 from 2.8 million in 1996. Delivery has occurred almost entirely through the private sector and adoption has been rapid in areas where the crops addressed serious production constraints and where farmers had access to the new technologies. Three countries (USA, Argentina and Canada), three crops (soybean, cotton and maize) and two traits (insect resistance and herbicide tolerance) account for the vast majority of global transgenic area. While some farmers in some developing countries are benefiting, most do not have access to transgenic crops and traits that address their needs. This paper surveys the level and distribution of the economic impacts of transgenic cotton and soybeans to date and reviews the impacts of these crops on chemical pesticide and herbicide use. It concludes with some considerations of ways to address the development and delivery of technological innovations to small farmers in developing countries.


© FAO 2004