Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Full Monty on Agricultural Economics and Trade.

General Format
......# Link

What you'll find here:
  1. GMO Pundit Posts cross links
  2. ABARE Economics
  3. Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
  4. Truth About Trade
  5. Professor Kym Anderson, University of Adelaide.
  6. Agribusiness Freedom Foundation
  7. Agricultural Research Service, USDA
  8. Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy
  9. ERS USA
  10. Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) USDA
  11. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
  12. GAIN Reports of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the USDA
  13. World Bank-Welfare Benefits Possible from Adoption of GM Cotton in Developing Countries
  14. OECD report on Trade Liberalisation
  15. David Pannell Home page UWA
  16. Shortage of Biotech Investment in Europe.
  17. Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) an Openmarket Blog.
  18. Rabobank Australia on meat trade prospects.
  19. Stock Feed Council of Australia
  20. AEI Let Them Eat Precaution
GMO Pundit
......# The End of Poverty and Crop Genetics.
......# The End of Poverty and Better Farming.
......# Sugar Cane Prices and Brazilian Ethanol.
......# Developing country Competitive Advantage is Improving.
......# Indian Technological Innovation.
......# Economic productivity and land resource management.
......# Commercial success of GM cotton in India.
......# Bans on GMOS and restrictions on Free Trade.
......# Greenhouse gas issues and End of Food Gluts.
......# ISAAA State of Play in 2005.
......# Biofuel gives support to maize / corn markets in US.
......# Canadian Canola could go all GM.
......# Agronomic study on Roundup Ready Canola.
......# Path to Rural Prosperity.
......# Innovation in Agriculture.
......# Cotton World Crown may go to India.
......# Billionth Acre of GM crops was sown.
......# BRS Report: GM under Development in Australia.
......# End of Poverty and Genetics.
......# Start Up Problems with New Crops.
......# Innovation in Agriculture and Climate Change
......# Broadscale Overview on Beneficial Technological Transitions.
......# Technology Immprovement in India Dec 2005
......# Cotton Successes in India.
......# Opportunities and Threats in Oilseeds Markets.
......# The Poverty Trap- Jeff Sachs
......# USA Ten years of steady increases in market share by GM varieties.
......# PG Economics- Best EU specialised consultancy?
......# Technology scaremongering hampering competitiveness.
......# Effects of technology fearmongering on trade competition.
......# Farming Utopia: The Green Vision for a new Agricultural Revolution.
......# New (May 2006) Economics report from ERS of the USDA.
......# BBC confirm WTO case went against the EU.
......# USA and Brazil negotiate ethanol related trade.
......# High net worth individuals getting excited about biofeul ventures.
......# US and India deal on biotechnology.
......# Agbiotech's potential to provide food feed fibre.
......# Flight of risk capital from Australia.
......# GM trader ADM very profitable.
......# Major Australian GM crop economics report commissioned May 2006.
......# Ethanol and biodiesel bolster US corn and soy markets.
......# Overview of transgenic cotton in India: Good News in May 2006.
......# Flight of investment capital away from the EU and Australia to the US.
......# GMO Pundit's Commodity Trade Stoush- Updated News Items.

ABARE Economics.
......# Economic growth and urbanisation driving changes in China’s agriculture
[ 6 March 2006 ]
China’s rapid economic growth is bringing about significant changes in food demand and is posing challenges for its agricultural industries, according to a new ABARE report released today.

The report, Agriculture in China: developments and significance for Australia, was released by Dr Brian Fisher, Executive Director of ABARE.

‘The increasing affluence of China’s urban consumers has meant that they are moving away from starchy staples toward more varied diets, including increased quantities of meat, dairy and seafood products,’ Dr Fisher explained.

Urban incomes in China are around three times as high as rural incomes. The strong growth in incomes in recent years and continued urbanisation are driving changes in food demand.

To date, China’s agriculture sector has been able to adjust its production mix to meet this changing demand for food. However, water constraints and land degradation in some regions are placing pressure on China’s agricultural production base and it is questionable whether China can continue to fully meet its domestic food requirements as tastes change.

The prospect for significant increases in meat production means that there is potential for China to become a large importer of feed grains and to increase its imports of oilseeds. China is also likely to become more dependent on wheat imports, particularly with constraints on agricultural land use.

China’s demand for dairy products and sugar is expected to increase more rapidly than production, and increased imports are likely, enhancing the prospects of increased Australian exports to China.

With continuing adjustment of China’s agriculture toward labor intensive farming activities, China is likely to become an important competitor on world markets for horticultural and processed agricultural products.

......# From: native vegetation management on broadacre farms abare eReport 06.3

In order to investigate whether environmental outcomes can be delivered at least cost, or whether the benefits can be maximised for a given cost, a better understanding of the costs associated with mandated native vegetation conservation is required.

The Productivity Commission inquiry into native vegetation and biodiversity regulations was a milestone in the investigation of the costs associated with native vegetation conservation. Their report concluded that the current regulatory approaches to native vegetation management were having a negative impact on some private landholders by imposing signifi cant costs
— preventing property development, preventing land use change to more profitable activities, preventing the introduction of cost saving innovations and restricting the clearing of regrowth vegetation and woodland thickening, resulting in reduced production.

In the largest study undertaken to date to investigate this issue in Australia, ABARE conducted a survey of 386 broadacre farmers in a 400 000 square kilometre region of New South Wales to quantify the impact of native vegetation on farm productivity and returns. Analysis of data collected as part of the survey found that farms with lower vegetation density generally have higher total factor productivity. However, the removal of vegetation below the level that generates private benefits to farmers is likely to have a negative impact on productivity.

The way in which vegetation was having an adverse impact on farm productivity varied across the study region and between farm enterprise types. In the rangelands, increased levels of vegetation were found to lower carrying capacity. On mixed livestock and cropping properties, regulations preventing the further development of land for either more intensive grazing or for cropping were also imposing costs in the form of forgone development opportunities.

On the farms with some cropping activities, isolated paddock trees were found to limit the efficiency of crop management. The presence of isolated trees is preventing the efficient use of cost saving GPS technologies in many instances. The impact of this is likely to increase over time as the trend toward larger farms continues. It should be emphasised that, while
the survey was conducted in New South Wales, the general fi ndings are relevant to other jurisdictions.

Ensuring that native vegetation management policies are economically effi cient and deliver environmental outcomes at least cost to the community requires an understanding of the cost that these policies are imposing on agricultural landholders. Native vegetation regulations can impose opportunity costs on the farm sector that take the form of lost annual income, which has consequential effects on land values because farmers are unable to clear and crop as they would wish.

In the ABARE study region, around 20 per cent of farmers reported that they would like to clear rangelands for crop development. This demand for additional cleared land reflects the ongoing pressure to shift enterprise mix out of wool production as well as the availability of new crop varieties and cropping practices. The opportunity cost of preventing this development in order to conserve native vegetation for environmental services was estimated to be as much as $1.1 billion across the study region in net present value terms.

When reported on a per hectare basis, the estimates reveal that the potential opportunity cost of conserving native vegetation varies widely across the region. In some regions — predominantly in the Central Division — the opportunity costs of conserving native vegetation were as high as $1445 per hectare. In other regions — particularly in the Western Division — the costs were as low as $129 per hectare.

The considerable variation in the cost of conserving native vegetation across the study region suggests that there may be scope to achieve the desired level of environmental outcomes at lower cost to the farm sector if more flexible policy instruments were adopted....
Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

......# FAPRI Briefing Book 2006 and Data Tables MS-Excel format.

World Oilseed Prices
The world prices of soybeans and sunflowers weakened this year under the pressure of high supplies while the rapeseed price increased because of strong EU biodiesel demand. For 2006/07, another price decline for soybeans is expected despite the production adjustment. This correction leads to a price rebound for soybeans in 2007/08. In the long run, all oilseed prices are expected to remain within their established relationships.

World Wheat Feed, Food Use, and Per Capita Consumption
Per capita consumption of wheat continues its downward trend. Thus, the increase in world demand comes from population growth. Consumption grows 0.8% annually on average, reaching 671 mmt in 2015/16. Food use reaches 557.2 mmt in 2015/16, with the main source of the demand increase coming from Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries. World feed use reaches 113.8 mmt in 2015/16.

World Coarse Grain Net Trade and U.S. Market Share
World coarse grain net trade is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.5%. Both barley net trade and corn net trade increase because of a demand increase coming mainly from African and Asian countries. The U.S. trade share was 52.4% in 2005/06 and it increases to 59.8% in 2015/16 as the U.S. captures most of this growing demand

Barley and Sorghum Net Trade and Prices
The world sorghum price increases in 2006/07 to $105 per mt as production decreases much more than consumption.
Thus, world net trade decreases slightly in 2006/07. With the increase in the world sorghum price over the next 10 years, world net trade does not reach its former levels. Lower production in 2005/06 decreased barley supply in world markets, increasing its price to $93.9 per mt. Despite higher production in 2006/07, lower stock levels decrease the world barley supply, increasing its price to $106.4 per mt. Net trade reaches 20.5 mmt in 201.

Truth About Trade
......# A Billion Reasons

by: Dean Kleckner, Chairman, Truth About Trade & Technology

When President Bush returned from his trip to India earlier this month, it seemed like he returned home with a billion new friends.

That’s an overstatement, of course: India is a big and diverse society whose members probably hold every viewpoint there is when it comes to the United States.

Yet there can be no denying that President Bush has strengthened the bonds between Washington and New Delhi. There are those who will urge Congress to scuttle the nuclear pact that our government has reached with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and congressional approval may in fact be difficult to achieve. But it is also true that relations between our two countries have perhaps never been warmer than they are right now.

And they ought to grow warmer still. As an English-speaking democracy, India shares much in common with the United States. We have a number of similar security interests, from a desire to contain Islamic radicalism to a need to keep an eye on the ambitions of China.

Economics also will keep our nations linked. Over the last quarter century, India’s economy has grown by nearly 6 percent each year--and it shows no signs of slowing down. According to some projections, India’s economy will be larger than Italy’s within a decade and it will be the world’s third-largest, after the United States and China, by 2040. As India grows wealthier, its demand for U.S. products will increase. Last year alone, U.S. exports to India actually jumped by 30 percent.

It would not surprise me if India eventually passed China on the road to economic prosperity. China, after all, remains an essentially closed society whose leaders permit a certain amount of economic freedom but almost no political freedom. When it comes to economic freedom, India still has a long way to go--New Delhi has by no means shrugged off its socialist past. Yet the Indian people themselves are fundamentally free, and freedom is a cornerstone of economic development.

American farmers stand to gain a great deal from this improving friendship. Last year, agricultural exports to the subcontinent were valued at less than $300 million--a figure that’s poised to rise given the country’s huge population.

The first step will require lowered barriers to trade. Although the average bound agricultural tariff for the United States is just 12 percent, India’s rate of 114 percent is far above the worldwide average of 62 percent. As a member of the WTO, India can be helpful in eliminating both tariff and non-tariff barriers placed on seeds, new chemicals and industrial products used in agriculture, benefiting both developed and developing countries...

Yet American and Indian farmers also share an interest in biotechnology. The United States is the global leader in GM crops; India is currently the world’s 7th leading biotech grower, with Bt cotton as its dominant crop. Last year, India’s Bt cotton acreage more than doubled, to 3.25 million acres. Resource poor farmers are choosing this technology because they understand and are experiencing its benefits.

There is still resistance to biotech crops in India--nothing on a European scale, but also more of a problem than it is in the western hemisphere. Yet I’m optimistic that Indian farmers will demand steady progress, especially for drought-resistant varieties of biotech crops. Only about one-third of India’s arable land has access to modern irrigation, which means that farmers are very dependent on rainfall. They will welcome biotech solutions to their common dry-weather problems.

The bottom line is that India and the United States have a bright future together as allies in trade and technology. And I can think of a billion reasons to be happy about that.
Professor Kym Anderson, University of Adelaide.
......# Prof. Kym Anderson's Home Page.
Ph.D.(Stanford), FASSA
School of Economics, The University of Adelaide.
(From May 2004, Prof Anderson will be on extended leave at the World Bank, Washington D.C)

...Three other recent research projects under his leadership are on the economics of biotechnology (particularly GMOs), on the economics of wine, and on quantifying the economic effects of trade reform in Indonesia, China, Indian Ocean rim countries and globally.
......# Transgenic Crops, EU Precaution, and Developing Countries
- Kym Anderson and Lee Ann Jackson (University of Adelaide and World Trade Organization) Int. J. Technology and Globalisation, Vol. 2, Nos. 1/2, pp.65–80. Excerpts below.

Agricultural biotechnologies have the potential to offer higher incomes for farmers in developing countries and lower-priced and better-quality food, feed and fibre. That potential is being heavily compromised, however, because of strict regulatory systems in the European Union and elsewhere governing transgenically modified (GM) crops. This paper examines why the EU has taken the extreme opposite policy position on GM food to equally affluent North America, what has been the impact on developing country welfare of the limited adoption of GM crop varieties so far, and what impact GM adoption by developing countries themselves could have on their economic welfare.

The pace of improving the productive efficiency and quality of the world’s food crops had been slow up until the 19th century. Then, following a century of wheat improvements, hybrid varieties dramatically increased average corn yields from the 1940s and dwarf varieties of high-yielding wheat and rice caused what became known as the Green Revolution in Asia and elsewhere from the 1960s .

Those technological developments of the past six decades contributed to an acceleration of the long-term decline in real international food prices to below 1930s’ levels by the late 1980s which in turn led to complacency about the need for further agricultural R&D. As a result, growth in public funding for such research fell substantially in both rich and poor countries – despite overwhelming evidence that this is a very high payoff investment area (Alston et al., 2000). In particular, the aid agencies and foundations reduced their support for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and for complementary national agricultural research systems in developing countries – which quickly led to fears that food crop productivity growth would slow .

The emergence in the 1990s of new agricultural biotechnologies, and in particular transgenic crop varieties, seemed to offer new hope that the private sector might fill this lacuna. But to those early hopes were added three other concerns. One was that a small number of huge biotech firms would capture most of the gains from the new agricultural biotechnology. A second was that those firms would not invest in poor countries where profits would be slim because of poor protection of intellectual property rights and small commercial seed markets.

And the third concern was that Europeans and others would reject the technology because of environmental and food safety concerns, thereby thwarting export market prospects for adopters of the transgenic crops. That third concern was vindicated by the European Union’s imposing in late 1998 of a de facto moratorium on the production and importation of food products that may contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It helped to constrain widespread adoption to just three GM food or feed crops (maize, soybean and canola) in three countries where production had already taken off by 1998, namely the USA, Argentina and Canada. Even when the other important GM crop is added (cotton), those three countries continue to dominate.

True, the EU replaced its moratorium in May 2004 with new regulatory arrangements, but they involve such onerous and laborious segregation, identity preservation and labelling requirements as to be almost as restrictive of exports of GM products as the moratorium was. With a number of other countries also imposing strict labelling regulations on GM foods, biotech firms are increasingly diverting their R&D investments away from food. At the same time, the public agricultural research system has remained shy about investing heavily in this technology – including the CGIAR which depends heavily on rich-country grants from EU member states.

  • why did this 'Gene Revolution' begin with maize, soybean and canola (along with cotton) rather than with the world’s most important food crops, namely wheat and rice?
  • why has the European Union (EU) taken an extreme opposite policy position on GMOs to equally affluent North America?
  • what has been the impact on developing country welfare of the limited adoption of GM varieties so far and of the EU’s reaction to that?
  • what impact could GM adoption by developing countries themselves have on their economic welfare, including if and when GM varieties of wheat and rice also are made available?
Each of these questions is addressed in turn, drawing on empirical data and some simulation results from a model of the global economy, before the paper concludes with some policy implications from the analysis. China and India are the most significant developing countries to consider, in the sense that they house the majority of the world poor, they comprise almost one-third of the world’s production and consumption of grain (and even more of cotton), and they (especially China) have the potential to rapidly apply and disseminate this new biotechnology. But Sub-Saharan Africa is also of crucial concern, given its extreme poverty and strong dependence still on agriculture for employment and export earnings and, in some cases, on food aid imports (which could be problematic if food provided as aid is not GM-free, as was the case for US shipments to Southern Africa in 2002)...

Conclusions and policy implications

From the viewpoint of developing countries, the above results are good news. The new agricultural biotechnologies promise much to the countries willing to adopt these new varieties. Moreover, the gains from farm-productivity enhancing GM varieties could be multiplied – perhaps many fold – if biofortified GM varieties such as golden rice were also to be embraced . The estimated gains to developing countries are only slightly lower if the EU’s policies continue to effectively restrict imports of affected crop products from adopting countries. More importantly, developing countries do not gain if they impose bans on GM crop imports even in the presence of policies restricting imports from GM-adopting countries: the consumer loss net of that protectionism boost to Asian and Sub-Saharan African farmers is far more than the small gain in terms of greater market access to the EU .

The stakes in this issue are thus very high, with welfare gains that could alleviate poverty directly and substantially in those countries willing and able to adopt this new biotechnology. Developing countries need to assess whether they share the food safety and environmental concerns of Europeans regarding GMOs. If not, their citizens in general, and their poor in particular, have much to gain from adopting GM crop varieties. Unlike for North America and Argentina, who are heavily dependent on exports of maize and oilseeds, the welfare gains from GM crop adoption by Asian and Sub-Saharan African countries would not be greatly jeopardised by rich countries banning imports of those crop products from the adopting countries. If the reason for China’s reluctance to approve GM food crop varieties for domestic production is because it wants to restrict approval to indigenously developed GM varieties so as to capture the intellectual property earnings domestically, then one can only hope – for the sake of their consumers and farmers – that such varieties will be ready soon (and that India and subsequent potential GM adopters will be willing to use Chinese or other GM varieties rather than cause further delays while their biotech researchers catch up).

Labelling policies potentially provide a more efficient mechanism than trade moratoria for accommodating consumers’ preferences for non-GM food. They would involve a cost to the global economy – and especially to developing country exporters – because of the necessary segregation and identity preservation systems, but their adoption in place of the current EU ban would provide both rich-country and poor-country consumers with greater choice than at present.

However, more economic modelling research is required to include the costs of segregating GM-inclusive from GM-free food products and to explore the incidence of the identity preservation cost between GM and non-GM farmers, between farmers as a group and others, and between rich and poor countries. As Baldwin (2001) argues, the more costly are the segregation and identity preservation systems necessary to meet rich-country labelling standards, the more they will disadvantage exports from poor countries relative to rich countries.
Agribusiness Freedom Foundation
AFF: Promoting free market principles throughout the agricultural food chain.
......# Sample Newsletter
Time Machine Economics
Colorado Springs, CO March 29, 2006

When H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine in 1895 he envisioned a device that allowed people to travel to the future. Today R-CALF, OCM and their Liberal Activist Group (LAG)* allies seem eager to buy a ticket for the return trip.

They decry trade with foreign countries apparently convinced that we will be overrun by the economic might of Central and South America. So, the solution I suppose is to ignore the realities of the 21st century, climb into a time machine and go back to 1607 before foreign investment made America. Keep the Dutch out of New York, the English out of Virginia, the Carolinas and New England, the French from financing and fleeting the American Revolution, and the Spanish out of Florida. Heck, once, most of the cattle in Wyoming belonged to English and Scottish investors.

In international trade and shipping, countries with big populations, smaller land masses and a yen to make money have been trading and investing worldwide for centuries. Think of the Dutch traders and investors or the British Empire. And America has been the place to invest for over 200 years.

“The larger truth is that the flow of foreign investment into the U.S. is a sign of economic strength, not weakness,” the Wall Street Journal said in a recent editorial (“The New Protectionists,” 3/10/06, OpinionJournal, “For 25 years, pro-growth economic policies including monetary stability, steep tax-rate reductions on capital and freer trade have created a giant in-sucking sound of some $4 trillion of global investment into America.” Between 1992 and 2005, the “U.S. created four times the number of new jobs than Europe and Japan combined.” Yet the LAG want to restrict growth through trade with foreign countries. They don’t mind exporting if it’s handy, but expect to keep out all imports and not suffer any retaliatory consequences.

The flip side of foreign investment and trade is, do we want a U.S. economy so weak or unpredictable that the rest of the world is afraid to invest here?

In a later story citing economists who believe the ports fiasco will dampen foreign investment, the Wall Street Journal noted that foreign investment in the U.S. in 2005 had jumped 20 percent, to $128 billion (“Foreign Investing in the U.S. May Slow,” 3/17/06, p. A2.). That brings the total to $1.53 trillion (Commerce Department-Gazette, 3/20/06, p. 5). Do we have the spare change to buy them all out?

The Journal noted a study by the Organization for International Investment: over 5 million Americans are employed by foreign-owned firms, averaging a wage of $63,000/year, 50 percent higher than the U.S. average. “Foreigners ... are investing in ways that add to [America’s wealth].”

Our Cold War victory proved international commerce could help protect us and defeat dictatorships. Coming from the other direction, as the Journal editorial said, “...the interdependence that comes with foreign investment also gives those investors a stake in both American success and security.”

In our own backyard, should we have given up the new products and competitive pressures on our American-owned countries from foreign-owned drug companies?

Get more basic. Where would our economy be today if we had decided in 1859, when the first oil well went in at Titusville, that our economy would only run as far and as fast as our domestic supply of oil would take us?

The Journal noted that, while we may have a trade deficit because of all the inflow of capital from around the world, it has contributed to our rising standard of living. From 1976 ‘til now, the U.S. net household wealth increased from $20 trillion to nearly $55 trillion. That rising standard of living is critical to increased demand for beef, especially the added value, branded and convenience items.

Investment, just like trade, is a two-way street. If we want to keep out foreign goods and foreign investment, we will have to prepare ourselves for a cataclysmic upheaval of divestiture, economic overhaul, massive depression and deprivation.

Or fire up the time machine.

* Liberal Activist Groups like Nader’s Public Citizen, Carol Tucker Foreman’s Consumer Federation of America and Consumer’s Union allied with R-CALF, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and others.

The Agribusiness Freedom Foundation promotes free market principles throughout the agricultural food chain. The AFF believes it is possible to value the traditions and heritage of the past while embracing the future and the changes it brings. The AFF is a communications and educational initiative striving to preserve the freedom of the agricultural food chain to operate and innovate in order to continue the success of American agriculture.

The AFF - freedom watchdog for American agriculture.

Agricultural Research Service, USDA
......# Digital repository provides public access online to selected USDA publications
April 25, 2006
ARS News Service
The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has established an online digital repository providing convenient public access to the full text of selected U.S. Department of Agriculture publications.
NAL, the largest and most accessible agricultural library in the world, is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's chief scientific research agency.
The NAL Digital Repository (NALDR) contains a wide variety of publications that have been digitized and made available online at:

While documents will continually be added to NALDR, currently available in the repository are:

The Rural Development Publication Digitizing Project, providing access to publications produced since the 1800s and chosen as being the most relevant titles on rural development. These include the entire series of Rural Development Research Reports, Rural Development Perspectives, Agricultural Economic Reports, and Agriculture Information Bulletins, as well as selected Economic Research Staff Reports and the first 300 volumes of Agriculture Handbooks.
The Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture series. Published from 1894 to 1992, the yearbooks contain statistical information, summaries of research developments, and comprehensive surveys of particular subjects important to agriculture, providing an important annual "snapshot" of U.S. agriculture. The yearbooks for 1894 to 1914 are currently available in the NALDR. The remaining volumes will be added in 2006.
For the user, the NALDR offers several features to facilitate searching and access, including fully searchable text, quick-loading files and a printing/downloading option for converting images to the commonly used Portable Document Format (PDF).
The NALDR focuses on print publications that have been digitized, and is the first component of what NAL plans as an integrated electronic repository for agricultural literature incorporating an array of electronic documents.

Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy
......# The Global Diffusion of Plant Biotechnology: International Adoption and Research in 2004
Executive Summary
Conclusions and Future Directions
  • Less than a decade after first commercialization, the international adoption and diffusion of biotech crops has now gone global, especially in developing countries. While much international press attention has focused on opposition to biotechnology, especially in Europe, there is increasing adoption and diffusion of biotech crops and expanded research in many parts of the world, including Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa.
  • We see continuing expansion of commercial and scientific possibilities for plant biotech in the next decade and beyond.
  • Worldwide biotech crop value reached $44 billion in 2003-2004 in the five countries accounting for about 98 percent of all biotech crop hectares and values (1 hectare = 2.47 acres). The leading five countries in global biotech crop value in 2003-2004 were the United States ($27.5 billion), Argentina ($8.9 billion), China ($3.9 billion), Canada ($2.0 billion) and Brazil ($1.6 billion). Four biotech crops - soybeans, cotton, maize (corn) and canola - accounted for virtually all of the biotech values and planted area.
  • Eight other countries have joined the leading five in meaningful levels of commercial biotech crop production: South Africa, Mexico, Australia, India, Romania, Spain, Philippines, and Uruguay.
  • Research and development (R&D) activity represented by field trials and laboratory/greenhouse experiments extends well beyond the five leading countries. Sixty three countries have been involved in some phase of biotech plant research and development, from laboratory/greenhouse experiments, to field trials, to regulatory approval and commercial production.
  • When biotech plant R&D is arrayed for field crops, vegetables, fruits and other crops (as in Tables 7-10), it is clear that the technology is diffusing to many parts of the world. For example, 16 field crops have been the sub ject of biotech research or development in 55 countries.
  • Many biotech plant varieties already have regulatory approval, and could be taken from field studies to commercial production quite rapidly, allowing substantial adoption within a few growing seasons. Two obvious examples are soybeans and maize in China, which had a total production in 2003-2004 of 16.2 million and 114 million metric tons, respectively. If half of this production was biotech, it would add about $2.5 billion to the total value of biotech crop production at 2003-2004 prices. When the deeper levels of activity preceding commercialization are explored at an international level, it is clear that a wide array of biotech plants is of potential interest (and value) in both developed and developing countries.
  • The direction of global plant biotechnology suggests that major expansions in biotech crop hectares are still to come, especially in Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa. Apart from this expansion, we expect the range of biotech crops approved commercially to continue to grow, resulting in new markets and opportunities, especially in developing countries. In fact, the greatest gains would be in the developing countries, where Gross Domestic Product could be expected to rise by as much as 2 percent.
  • If the European Union continues to restrict activity in the sector, it will slow down this global diffusion, but it cannot stop it. As it becomes increasingly isolated, it will discourage its young scientists and technicians from pursuing European careers. If, on the other hand, the EU engages biotech in an orderly regulatory framework harmonized with the rest of the world, it will encourage a more rapid international diffusion of the technology. More nations will join the top tiers of commercial production, and emerging nations will continue to expand the sector. It is unlikely that Europe will catch up with North America as a sphere of plant biotech influence, but its scientific and technical capabilities will allow it to recover relatively quickly.

C. Ford Runge, Ph.D.
Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Applied Economics and Law
Director, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy
University of Minnesota
Barry Ryan, M.S. Research Associate
University of Minnesota
December 8, 2004
......# Amber Waves eZine (highly recommended)
......# Amber Waves Feature on Ethanol
......# ERS Feed Outlook Report
......#ERS Base Outlook Projections:
......# Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2006 Edition
Keith Wiebe and Noel Gollehon, Editors
Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-16) , July 2006

These chapters describe trends in resources used in and affected by agricultural production, as well as the economic conditions and policies that influence agricultural resource use and its environmental impacts. Each of the 28 chapters provides a concise overview of a specific topic with links to sources of additional information. Chapters are available in HTML and pdf formats.

Keywords: AREI, agricultural economics, natural resources, knowledge resources, conservation practices, conservation programs, land use, water, conventional agriculture, organic agriculture, soil conservation, conservation policy, environmental quality

Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) USDA
......# The Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) advises the Secretary on the economic implications of policies and programs affecting the U.S. food and fiber system and rural areas as well as coordinates, reviews, and approves the Department's commodity and farm sector forecasts. OCE staff also coordinates USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum, which has been hosted annually since 1923.
......# The World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) serves as USDA’s focal point for economic intelligence and the commodity outlook for U.S. and world agriculture. The Board coordinates, reviews, and approves the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, houses OCE's Joint Agricultural Weather Facility, and coordinates USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum. Annually, the Forum attracts 1,500 attendees, including producers, policymakers, business leaders, and government and industry analysts.
......# The Office of Energy Policy and New Uses (OEPNU) assists the Secretary of Agriculture in developing and coordinating Departmental energy policy, programs, and strategies.

Research is currently underway on biodiesel fuels, ethanol fuels, and other sources of biomass energy. Jim Duffield is the primary contact for biodiesel research and energy use in agriculture, and Hosein Shapouri is the contact for ethanol studies. Both economists are involved with tracking trends in agricultural energy uses. Measurement of atmospheric emissions associated with renewable energy also is under study.

The potential effects of deregulation of electric utilities on rural communities are being studied in cooperation with the Department's rural Utilities Service. Marvin Duncan is the lead researcher.

Beginning in fiscal year 1999, OEPNU assumed responsibility for conducting a program of research on the feasibility and economic and market potential of new uses for agricultural products. Marvin Duncan is the primary contact.
......# The mission of the Director of sustainable Development is to advance the principles and goals of sustainable development through partnerships, collaboration, and outreach.

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
......# NASS Publications.
Welcome from the Administrator
Administrator R. Ronald Bosecker

In 1791, President George Washington, spurred by an inquiry, wrote to several farmers requesting information on land values, crops, yields, livestock prices, and taxes. It was in effect, the Nation's first documented agricultural survey. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln founded the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) with one of its missions being the dissemination of information about U.S. agriculture. One year later, the first USDA statistical report was released.

Today, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture-production and supplies of food and fiber, prices paid and received by farmers, farm labor and wages, farm finances, chemical use, and changes in the demographics of U.S. producers are only a few examples.

NASS is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. To uphold our commitment NASS will continue to.

  • Report the facts on American agriculture, facts needed by people working in and depending upon U.S. agriculture.
  • Provide objective and unbiased statistics on a predetermined schedule that is fair and impartial to all market participants.
  • Conduct the Census of Agriculture every five years, the only source of consistent, comparable, and detailed agricultural data for every county in America .
  • Serve the needs of our data users and customers at a local level through our network of State field offices and our cooperative relationship with universities and State Departments of Agriculture.
  • Safeguard the privacy of farmers, ranchers, and other data providers; we guarantee to keep data security and confidentiality our top priorities.

Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA
......# GAIN Reports

China, Peoples Republic of Biotechnology Annual 2005
Approved by: Maurice House U.S. Embassy Beijing
Prepared by: Anthony Cino, Kevin Latner, Wu Bugang

Report Highlights:
Despite lack of transparency in regulatory development and unprecedented testing requirements on imports, U.S. biotech soybeans and U.S. and domestic biotech cotton are selling at near record volumes. China is currently the largest market for U.S. agricultural biotechnology products and is the fifth largest producer of biotechnologically enhanced plants, based on acreage. A strong biotech research program and recent ratification of the Biosafety Protocol suggest biotechnology will be an integral part of China’s agricultural development for the foreseeable future.
World Bank, Washington DC
.......# Recent and Prospective Adoption of Genetically Modified
Cotton: A Global CGE Analysis of Economic Impacts
Kym Anderson, Ernesto Valenzuela and Lee Ann Jackson
World Trade Organization, Geneva
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3917, May 2006

This paper provides estimates of the economic impact of initial adoption of genetically modified (GM) cotton and of its potential impacts beyond the few countries where it is currently common. Use is made of the latest version of the GTAP database and model.
Our results suggest that by following the lead of China and South Africa, adoption of GM cotton varieties by other developing countries – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa – could provide even larger proportionate gains to farmer and national welfare than in those firstadopting countries. Furthermore, those estimated gains are shown to exceed those from a successful campaign under the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda to reduce/remove cotton subsidies and import tariffs globally.
JEL codes: D58, F17, Q16, Q17
Key words: GMOs, cotton biotechnology, computable general equilibrium modeling,
economic welfare, subsidy and tariff reform


.......# Most countries would gain from freer global trade, says OECD agriculture report
June 9, 2006
Stefan Tangermann, Director of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries

Paris -- If current levels of trade protection and domestic support for farm and manufactured goods were halved worldwide, the potential benefits - through higher incomes for consumers and producers – could total around 44 billion US dollars a year, according to a new OECD report.

The largest part of the gain is expected to come from agricultural reform, it adds. About 80% of the benefits in agriculture would result from cutting tariffs and export subsidies.

The report finds that almost all countries gain overall. Those with the highest levels of support and protection would benefit most from such reforms. The most efficient agricultural exporters would also gain significantly. But for many developing economies the immediate benefits would be relatively small and would be concentrated more in manufacturing than in agricultural trade.
Agriculture policy and trade reform: potential effects at global, national and household levels, assesses the impact of greater liberalisation on producers and consumers. By identifying the groups who may become worse off following such reforms, the report gives governments the opportunity to design policies to help them adjust.

The main findings of the report are summarised below:

Agricultural policy and trade reform: Potential effects at global, national and household levels
The average Producer Support Estimate (PSE) in the OECD area is 30 percent. This means that almost one-third of farm receipts are derived from government intervention. This is an improvement on the levels seen before the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations which averaged 37%. Most of the support, 65%, comes through measures that raise producer prices, including tariffs, export subsidies and domestic output subsidies. These measures seriously distort production, markets and trade. In this regard there was also some improvement as these policies represented 83% of all support before the Uruguay Round.

Support levels differ enormously across countries. Australia reports a PSE of only 4% and New Zealand 2%, the European Union 34% and the United States 17%. The highest levels are reported by Norway, Switzerland, Korea and Japan, all around 60% or higher.

Farm incomes, the quality of the agricultural environment and landscape, and prosperity in rural areas are often quoted as the raison d’ĂȘtre for these high levels of intervention. In practice, the existing policy set is quite inefficient in advancing these goals. Income effects are often perverse, granting most of the support to those who have the largest farms, and generating large leakages to upstream and downstream agents who were not the intended beneficiaries, or to people who own but do not farm land. Environmental effects are sometimes the opposite of what was intended as subsidies stimulate intensive production. Rural development is more effectively fostered by measures such as investment in infrastructure, education and social services.
A simultaneous reform involving a halving of trade protection and domestic support across all sectors (i.e. agriculture and manufacturing) has been estimated as potentially generating US44 billion in welfare gains globally. Most of these gains arise from agricultural reform. Within agriculture the gains are dominated by reform of market access measures, not surprising as these are both the most distorting and the most dominant type of support. Also unsurprisingly, it is the countries with the highest levels of support and protection that benefit most from reform. Japan, the EU, and several smaller OECD countries are all likely to make significant welfare gains as a result of multilateral reform.

The most efficient agricultural exporters are also likely to gain significantly from agricultural reform. Among these, countries like Australia, Brazil, the US and Thailand figure prominently. Almost all countries gain overall, but for many developing countries (in particular those for whom domestic agriculture production is largely consumed at home and those that are large net food importers), the immediate gains are relatively small and originate more in manufacturing than in agricultural trade.

Land rental values fall significantly in many countries as a result of reform, suggesting that programme benefits are capitalised to a significant degree. The largest effects are in the European Union, the United States, Canada and Japan

David Pannell (
Professor, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics,
University of Western Australia

......# David Pannell Home Page (links at that page, plus more).
Program Leader, People, Land and Water Program,
Cooperative Research Centre for Plant-Based Management of Dryland Salinity
A sampling:
Recent papers
  • Salinity economics and policy Summary 29 Nov 2005
  • Agriculture’s likely role in meeting Canada’s Kyoto commitments Full paper (135K pdf) 27 Oct 2005
  • Policies and politics: Challenges and opportunities for economists Full paper (85K) 10 Aug 2005
  • SIF3: An investment framework dryland salinity Full paper (115K pdf) SIF3 project page 2-page summary 13 July 2005
  • Salinity: new knowledge with big implications Full paper (19K) 13 July 2005
  • Climate change and the economics of farm management in the face of land degradation Full paper (119K pdf) 14 April 2005
  • Understanding and promoting adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders Full paper (161K) PDF version (182K) 4 February 2005
  • Issues of confusion or controversy in economics Full paper (81K) 25 January 2005
  • Economics of pre-emptive management to avoid glyphosate resistance Full paper (77K) 20 October 2004
Pannell Discussions
Brief pieces on issues and ideas in economics, science, the environment, natural resource management, politics, people, agriculture and whatever else.
  • 77. Channel 9's salinity exposĂ© 29 May 2006
  • 76. Public and private benefits and extension 22 May 2006
  • 75. Public and private benefits, incentives and lags 15 May 2006
  • 74. Public and private benefits and incentives 8 May 2006
  • 73. Public and private benefits and policy choices 1 May 2006
  • 72. Headaches 17 Apr 2006
  • 71. Agonising decisions 10 Apr 2006
  • 70. Risky decision making 27 Mar 2006
  • 69. Climate change 6 Feb 2006
  • 68. Multiple outcomes in environmental programs 16 Jan 2006

......# European Biotech industry figures show signs of chronic under-funding

-EuropaBio, 30 May 2006, via Agbioview.
The latest figures published today compares biotechnology sectors across some eighteen European nations and the USA.

The report finds that the European and the US biotechnology industries both have around 2000 companies, but the US sector employs nearly twice as many people, spends around three times as much on research and development, has twice the number of employees involved in research and development, raises over twice as much venture capital, and has access to 10 times as much debt finance. It earns twice as much revenue.

Despite the right-minded high-level political intentions to transform Europe into an innovation-intensive economic powerhouse, Europe’s biotechnology project is in danger of foundering from the relative dearth of that most vital of fuels for innovation: money. There is a good deal of national government enthusiasm for biotechnology, apparent in a myriad of technology transfer initiatives, seed funding schemes, and taxation schemes encouraging bioscience and other high-technology research and development.

According to John Hodgson, Partner at Critical I - a specialist biotechnology consultancy – who authored the study: “Venture capital is a luxury. Less than 10% of European companies win venture funds each year. But it is an indispensable luxury. Only properly capitalised companies can hope to compete globally in knowledge-intensive industries like biotechnology.”

The report shows that Europe’s science base is inventive, and the establishment of over 100 new biotechnology firms across Europe in 2004 is testimony to the fact that its inventors are entrepreneurial, too. However, the practicalities of funding innovation, whether in science or in business, are currently confounding the good intentions and enthusiasm. “Europe can be a breeding ground for European companies, or it can be a greenhouse for high-technology firms that are acquired by better funded US firms. The development of technology will follow the money that allows it to develop. Europe needs to ensure that the money is here,” says John Hodgson.

This study identified 2,163 European biotechnology companies whose primary commercial activity was in biotechnology.

Responding to the industry figures published today, Dr Hans Kast, Chairman of EuropaBio, and President and CEO of BASF Plant Science said: “Identifying the problem is the first step to a solution. A second step is providing significant financial and tax incentives to investors and venture capitalists to invest in biotechnology such as the Young Innovative Company (YIC) concept. This was introduced in France in 2004, and gives generous tax and social cost incentives for small companies developing new, science-based products. Making this the norm across all Member States would give a significant boost to attracting more investors to our sector and help to close the yawning competitiveness gap.”

Johan Vanhemelrijck, Secretary General of EuropaBio said: “Europe is extraordinarily entrepreneurial, creating over 100 new small vibrant companies each year. These companies must keep being vibrant, but they must stop being small. More than anything, Europe must ensure that its biotechnology firms grow, and they must do it rapidly and efficiently.”
Link to report

For further information, contact:
Critical I Limited - John Hodgson
Mobile: +44 7957 367 850
Direct Tel: +44 1223 307544

EuropaBio - Adeline Farrelly
Mobile: +32 475 93 17 24
Tel: +32 2 735 0313

CEI Home page.
........#Openmarket Blog.
........#CEI Openmarket Blog Agriculture and Biotech posts.
........# Bitter Fruit
Over at the American Conservative, Tim presents the sordid history of the sugar industry in the U.S. and the government's long history of subsidizing a fundamentally uncompetitive product.

For ideas on how we can stem the flow of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of sugar growers, take a look at the paper by Ivan, Barbara and Fran on sugar reform.

Richard Morrison at CEI

Rabobank Australia
.......# Aussie beef in best shape for years, but volatile times ahead: Industry Report

2 May 2006
Partial Quote:
"Export-reliant industries face a more complex set of challenges than those focused on the domestic market, making them more difficult to predict and manage," says Mr Cordingley. "Such factors are important to the Australian beef industry, heavily reliant on international demand with 65 per cent of production exported. To date, the industry has been a stand out performer in managing this risk and maximising its global opportunity. But global competition will inevitably intensify in the medium term and the likelihood is that Australian cattle prices will be forced lower as a result."

In particular, the growth in lot feeding over the last two decades has coincided with the rapid expansion in beef exports to North Asian markets, and underpinned Australia's ability consistently to deliver stability of quality and supply. "There is little doubt that the feedlot sector will play an increasingly important and dominant role in the Australian cattle production chain in years to come," says Mr Cordingley.

However, lot feeders face a number of significant challenges in the coming years. The report warns that while grass-fed systems in South America currently remain more efficient than grain-fed, greater access to the high value US, Japanese and Korean markets could encourage South American producers, particularly Argentina, to increase production of high quality grain fed beef.

In addition, domestic growth in lot-feeding relies on grain production being high and prices low to allow the sector to outbid grass finishers to secure cattle numbers. Falling grain supplies, for instance through drought, or higher demand from alternative grain users like ethanol producers, could impact on the ability of feedlots to meet growth expectations. The report shows also that volatile cattle prices, as experienced domestically in 2005, can make trade difficult for feedlots, with the record highs in August limiting access to cattle numbers.

The Rabobank report also points to the significant role played by relative currency values in determining competitiveness in beef export markets. In recent years, this has been less important to Australian beef export prices with the exclusion of US and Canadian beef from high value North Asian markets. Their gradual return will bring more competitive pressure to bear, but the appreciation of the Brazilian real in recent months and, more importantly, any signs of weakness in the Australian dollar relative to the US and Korean currencies, will aid Australian competitiveness in these key markets.

Mr Cordingley concludes that "for both processors and producers, the only certainty is that continued gains in productivity, while maintaining product quality, will generate financial rewards that are secure from the vagaries of international markets."
Stock Feed Manufacturers' Council of Australia

.......# Stock Feed Industry Fact Sheet

AEI, American Enterprise Institute

......# Let Them Eat Precaution How Politics Is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture
By Jay Byrne, Gregory Conko, Jon Entine, Tony Gilland, Thomas Jefferson Hoban, Patrick Moore, Andrew S. Natsios, Martina Newell-McGloughlin, Robert L. Paarlberg, C. S. Prakash, Carol Tucker Foreman
Edited by Jon Entine
AEI Press (Washington)
Publication Date: January 2006
ISBN: 0844742007

The genetic revolution has offered more promise than substance, except in agriculture, where it has brought profound benefits to farmers and consumers for more than a decade. More nutritious food is now produced with less environmental costs because genetically modified crops require almost no pesticides. Vitamin-enhanced crops and foods are helping to reduce malnutrition in parts of the developing world, and a wave of biopharmaceuticals is being developed. Yet, for all its achievements and promise, agricultural biotechnology is under intense fire from advocacy groups warning of “Frankenfoods” and fanning fear of a “corporate takeover” of agriculture by biotech firms. Mired in a rancorous trade and cultural war between Europe and the United States and inflamed by a politicized media, this technology remains dramatically underutilized, with particularly tragic consequences for millions of starving people in Africa and other poverty-stricken regions.

In Let Them Eat Precaution, authors from the United States and the United Kingdom deconstruct these controversies and offer solutions to the current impasse. They address both the risks and rewards of genetic modification; the differing paths that debate over genetic manipulation has followed in Europe and the developing world, in contrast to the United States; the debate’s impact on the commercial realities of companies’ developing new products; and ways to foster more constructive discussion of the costs and benefits of genetic modification to bring about more rational and internationally coordinated public policy.

The authors argue that an effective communications strategy focused on the current and potential benefits that these technologies provide is critical if we hope to exploit fully these technological advances. Proponents of biotechnology must accept the fact that sound science is only one criterion for public policymaking and speak to the broader set of concerns—political, social, moral, and economic—that this debate engenders.

Agricultural Biotechnology on Hold
The Alice-in-Wonderland World of the “Precautionary Principle”

Thomas Jefferson Hoban
Leaders’ Views on Biotechnology: Results of a Survey

C. S. Prakash and Gregory Conko
The Challenge of Food Security in Developing Countries
Modern Biotechnology Joins Crop Development
Biotechnology Has Begun to Affect the Developing World
Improved Health through Better Nutrition
High Anxiety—Public Unease over Bioengineered Crops?
Do Bioengineered Crops Harm the Environment?
Unnecessary Speed Bumps and Roadblocks
The Road Ahead: Toward Improved Food Security for All

Europe and the Precautionary Principle
The British Experience
Food Scares and the Significance of the BSE and
CJD Episode
The UK Government’s Response to GM Fears
European Regulation and Labeling Requirements
The Price of the Precautionary Principle

Andrew S. Natsios
The Debate over Biotechnology
Placing Biotechnology Concerns into Context

Reasons for the Restricted Planting of GM Crops
Trying to Make a Case against the Regulations
Who Will Lose If the EU Wins?
Options for the United States

Food and Feelings
Current Public Views of Biotechnology
Why the Skepticism about GM Foods?
New Generation of Products May Exacerbate Consumer
The Current Regulatory System Undermines Support for Food Biotechnology
Practical Steps to Improve Prospects for Public Acceptance of Food Biotechnology

The Internet
Charting a Course for Change

Martina Newell-McGloughlin
Functional Foods
Plant Molecular Farming

Campaign of Fear and Fantasy
GM Crop Technology vs. Greenpeace in the Developing World
Breaking Greenpeace’s Grip on the Media

......# to be continued