The Next Wave of Biotechnology: Will the Crest Support the Weight of Success?
Dr. Roger Beachy, NIFA Director and USDA Chief Scientist
American Society of Plant Biologists Annual Meeting 2010; August 4, 2010; Montreal, Canada
“When one is on the crest of a wave in the sea, or riding the powder of the mountains, you often don’t see the rocks and sea churn, or the bumps and cliffs that lie beneath. And believe me, there is turmoil, there are reefs, and there are rocks underneath the crest of this “Next Wave of Biotechnology” that we are experiencing. The churn involves both how science will be done, and how the products of the knowledge that might be delivered through biotechnology will be regulated, distributed, controlled.”
A stimulating read on a local (Sask-based) innovation model by ‘yours truly’ and colleague Stuart Smyth…
Facilitating Innovation in Agricultural Biotechnology: An Examination of the Ag-West Biotech Model, 1989-2004
AgBioForum, volume 13, Number 2, Article 9
Innovation is more than just science. Innovation encompasses a diversity of disciplines, such as law (patents and freedom to operate), economics (spill-over benefits and returns to investment), political science (government policy and international trade barriers), and psychology (consumer responses). Clearly, the multiple disciplines that can—and have—investigated aspects of cycles of innovation or innovation systems indicate that the concept of innovation is extremely broad. In the same stream, innovation is more than simply firms commercializing new products. It also involves public research institutions, federal regulators, and organizations representing stakeholders from farmers to consumers. In their role to facilitate innovation, governments have developed arm’s-length organizations to advocate, support, and service the agricultural biotechnology industry. This article examines Ag-West Biotech, a non-profit venture funded by the Saskatchewan government. Ag-West Biotech has delivered a wide range of services to the Saskatchewan biotechnology industry by acting as a mediator between business and government, as project facilitator and financier, and by offering visible leadership and direction for the biotechnology sector.
OECD Special Issue: Agricultural and Health Biotechnologies: Building Blocks of the Bioeconomy
Editor: David Sawaya
This document includes a section entitled “Biotechnologies in Agriculture and Related Natural Resources to 2015” by Anthony Arundel and David Sawaya and forecasting of develops in GM crops for the next several years. It identifies the types of biotech products that are already on the market, both in developed and developing countries and estimates the types of new products that could reach the market by 2015. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/19/36/44534300.pdf
Agricultural technologies must be ‘appropriate’
Source: Global Food Security
5 April 2010
“An appropriate [agricultural] technology is accessible, affordable, easy-to-use and maintain, effective — and most importantly, it serves a real need.”
How do we achieve this?
As “Science and Innovation for Development” author Jeff Waage stated in the book: “Between the extremes of a technological ‘silver bullet’ approach to development science, and the belief that local and intermediate technologies are the only legitimate approach, there is emerging today a new community of scientists dedicated to an inclusive view of appropriate science for development”.
Commissioned by Crop Life America and and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), Phillips McDougall conducted a study on the discovery, development and registration of new products designed to support modern agricultural production and fight pests and disease around the world.
The Study is available here:
Some key notes articulated by Jack Boyne, director of communications for Bayer CropScience:
- 50 percent of the world’s harvest would be lost if pests weren’t controlled
- it takes approximately 10 years of testing to bring a product to market, during which time half the product’s patent protection is lost
- products are evaluated not only for possible effects on human health but also for their impacts in wildlife and the environment
- only one product out of 100,000 evaluated actually makes it to market
- today’s products are better tested, more selective and more precisely applied than ever before — often a dose is measured in fractions of grams per acre
Read more on this in “Crop protection products help feed world” (by David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff). http://deltafarmpress.com/news/crop-protection-products-help-feed-world-0312/
The China Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture reports that patent applications have doubled between 2002 and 2008. China’s applications (agricultural and other) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) have also increased. Between 2008 and 2009, they increased by a third, representing almost 7,800 extra international applications.
“Agricultural innovations in areas such as GM crops have rapidly increased in number over the past decade, said CCIPA researcher Liu Lijun. GM crop applications stood at 342 last year, compared with 108 in 2002. And these innovations have been applied across the country. In 2008, around four million hectares of transgenic cotton were planted in the country, accounting for 70 per cent of China’s cotton land.”