Justus Wesseler (AEP): Does Biotechnology make a difference?

The contribution of biotechnology to the productivity of crops has been heavily debated among scientists as well as other societal groups. Supporters of the technology point out the increase in crop productivity, the environmental benefits generated, the contribution to reducing poverty and improvements in nutrition

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Opponents to the technology emphasize the unknown risk related to the technology, negative impacts on the environment through increase in monoculture and reliance on glyphosate based chemicals. They further argue that other strategies based on agro-ecological concepts can also address problems that biotechnology solutions approach but are more environmental friendly and does not expose society to the risks related to biotechnology.

Both views have in common claiming the agricultural sector would do better. Indeed, if both strategies are able to address the problems the agricultural sector faces we should not observe a difference in the development of the agricultural sector. Growth rates following a biotechnology strategy should be equivalent to growth rates following a strategy not using the potential of biotechnology.

In this contribution we compare income growth per owner operator in the US and the EU. Overall our results show, that indeed access to biotechnology had an effect on income growth.