GM crops in sub‐Saharan Africa: A critical comment on GTAP modelling

Article


Pillarisetti, J. Ram, Lawrey, Roger and Radel, Kylie. 2007. "GM crops in sub‐Saharan Africa: A critical comment on GTAP modelling ." International Journal of Social Economics. 34 (3), pp. 188-196. https://doi.org/10.1108/03068290710726739
Article Title

GM crops in sub‐Saharan Africa: A critical comment on GTAP modelling

ERA Journal ID18391
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsPillarisetti, J. Ram, Lawrey, Roger and Radel, Kylie
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Social Economics
Journal Citation34 (3), pp. 188-196
Number of Pages9
Year2007
PublisherEmerald
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0306-8293
1758-6712
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/03068290710726739
Web Address (URL)https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/03068290710726739/full/html
Abstract

Purpose - The Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) model has been used to claim that genetically modified (GM) crops have substantial positive welfare potential for sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine these claims with a view to seeing if this type of modelling provides any meaningful basis for agricultural policy recommendations. Design/methodology/approach - One particular study is examined to show that because any possible negative effects of GM foods are ignored, optimistic assumptions are made about increases in productivity and trade, and selective scenarios are used, the modelling must, perforce, result in positive welfare effects. Findings - It is found that, because of the assumptions of the study and the restricted scenarios investigated, all the modelling can do is estimate the size of the supposedly positive benefits. A negative outcome is not possible. Practical implications - It is argued that the GTAP model is inappropriate for sub-Saharan Africa and that the sweeping conclusions from this type of stylised modelling trivialize the complex poverty and socio-economic problems of sub-Saharan Africa. Originality/value - It is demonstrated that, in this case, the GTAP model is not only redundant, but also can yield risky policy recommendations for sub-Saharan Africa as it affects not only the livelihoods of millions of poor Africans but the ecological balance, biodiversity and economic independence of these nations. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

KeywordsAgriculture; Genetic modification; Sub Saharan Africa
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Brunei Darussalam, Brunei
Central Queensland University
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