The promises of new and emerging biotechnologies receive continuing attention and promotion. Many governments place high hopes in the new technologies to deliver development. Policy papers and public statements refer to modern biotechnology, genomics, proteomics, and increasingly, nanotechnology.

For developing countries and countries with economies in transition, this raises fundamental questions of development priorities, technology choices and availability of financial and human resources.

There is much to learn from the experiences of developed countries. This includes: the growth of the pharmaceutical, agriculture and chemical (seeds and agro-chemicals) industries and their shaping of the investment climate and consumer market; the evolution of intellectual property standards and rules; the experiences of ?biotechnology clusters? in the United States upon which many developing countries are drawing lessons; the commercial interest in microorganisms and their derivatives such as enzymes and other biomolecules.

The New Biomassters

Under the pretext of addressing environmental degradation, climate change and the energy and food crises, industry is portending a “New Bioeconomy” and the replacement of fossil carbon with living matter, now labeled “biomass.” […]

Herbicide Resistant Plants Trigger ‘Arms Race’ Among Chemical Companies

Chemical companies are racing to develop new GM crops or to use old herbicides to attack weeds that are increasingly immune to herbicides. […]

Out of Hand: Corporate Control of Seed Industry in the US

American farmers are feeling the effects of a concentrated seed industry. Seed options are diminishing while prices increase at historic rates. This report examines these troubling trends. […]

Biotech “No Sure Fix” for Nitrogen Fertiliser Pollution Problem

Biotechnology lags behind traditional breeding and other methods in producing crops that have shown improved efficiency in nitrogen use, in order to address the problem of nitrogen fertiliser pollution. […]

The Magnitude and Impacts of the Biotech and Organic Seed Price Premiums

The price of GE corn, soybean, and cotton seed has risen sharply in recent years. Seed expenditures per acre are now cutting into net farm income, and transferring earnings that used to stay on the farm to the seed industry. […]

Transgenic Seed Platforms: Competition Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

This paper analyzes the state of competition in the transgenic seed industry which is heavily dominated by biotechnology giant Monsanto. […]

Patents, Climate Change and African Agriculture

This report exposes the patents and players involved in appropriating key African food crops to produce GM climate crops. […]

GM Crops 10 years on

A decade ago there was much hope and hype about the potentials of GM crops. The reality, thus far, is a more complex and mixed story. […]

South Africa Facing a Tsunami of Risky GMOs

A wave of new GMOs are expected to flood the South African market during 2009. Biotech backers, such as the Bill Gates Foundation, are also bringing new GM crops onto the South African scene. […]

Corporate candyland – The looming GM sugar cane invasion

GM sugar cane is fast taking over soya production in the southern cone of Latin America. This report looks at the intersection between the development of GM sugar cane and transformations in the global sugar industry. […]