Forthcoming Book Examines the Economics of Disease Control in Crop Production

The Economics of Soybean Disease Management

Kalaitzandonakes, N., Kaufman, J., Zahringer, K.

Publisher: CABI

As the world population passes 7.5 billion on its way to 9 billion by 2050, the global agrifood industry faces the challenge of feeding more people from a fixed or even decreasing amount of agricultural land, water, and other resources. This can happen through significant productivity gains in agriculture and through reductions in post-harvest losses and food waste. In crop production, developing higher yielding varieties and improved crop protection methods that reduce the amount of produce lost to weed, insect, and pathogen pests are the primary strategies for securing productivity gains. Both of these strategies are constant areas of research by universities, public research institutes, and private firms.

This book is concerned with one aspect of the quest for productivity, the economics of managing diseases that affect soybean production. The essential scientific research undertaken is just the first step in meeting the productivity challenge. The ultimate goal is to develop new methods and practices that are adopted by farmers and effectively used in the field. The book explores the crop protection practices that are available to soybean farmers for controlling diseases and associated yield losses, the inherent complexity in the crop protection decisions that farmers must make, the economic impacts of such decisions, and the linkages between producer decisions and the decisions made by technology developers in R&D which shape the development of future solutions for controlling disease and associated losses.

From Agriscience to Agribusiness: Theories, Policies and Practices in Technology Transfer and Commercialization

From Agriscience to Agribusiness: Theories, Policies and Practices in Technology Transfer and Commercialization

Kalaitzandonakes, N., Carayannis, E.G., Grigoroudis, E., Rozakis, S. (eds.)

Publisher: Springer, New York

Find the book here.

Over the last 100 years the process of agricultural innovation has been radically changed. At the turn of the last century most new plant varieties, farm implements, or production processes were still the result of the efforts of individual farmers, naturalists, or tinkerers attempting to solve specific problems. Since that time, organized scientific investigation has taken a progressively larger role, until in our present day innovation is almost exclusively the domain of formalized, sophisticated, large-scale R&D programs in universities, government laboratories and research stations, and, increasingly, private firms. As government R&D funding expanded after WWII, public research institutions devoted more resources to both basic and applied research as well as to improving their capacity to transfer the results of that research to potential developers and users. The resulting stream of innovation transformed the agriculture industry through increased productivity and accelerated substitution of capital for labor and land. The increased capital investment aided broad economic development by releasing labor for other pursuits and the increased farm productivity improved food security around the world.

Society in general has benefitted from agricultural R&D investments and the institutional arrangements that support them. The return on investment of public R&D has been estimated to be high in all studies. Private firms across the agrifood supply chain have experienced significant growth based on their investment in R&D and innovation, creating employment and wealth that has spread far beyond the agriculture sector. At the same time, political actors have continued to strengthen controls in the legal system in an attempt to minimize societal costs and increase the net benefits from innovation. Efficient regulations can mitigate risks that might accompany some innovations, and refinements to IP laws as well as antitrust laws have been used to curb excessive market power that could result from overuse of IPR.

The accelerating pace of scientific discovery produced by the modern R&D system and the global institutional, structural, and economic adaptations that have followed have created a dynamic environment of near constant change. This book provides a comprehensive review of the key elements of the agricultural innovation process, from agriscience to agribusiness. It brings together legal, economic, business, policy and technology experts from the public and private sectors in order to assess the current state of agrifood technology transfer activities all along the process from basic research to new production techniques and crop varieties, analyze the impact of various legal and institutional arrangements on transfer efficiency, and describe the benefits of innovation on everyday life.

The media coverage of agricultural biotechnology reviewed

EMAC director Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes co-authored new article titled: Media Coverage, Public Perceptions, and Consumer Behavior: Insights from New Food Technologies.  The media often play the role of translating new science to consumers. The article discusses the recent literature that has examined the supply and demand factors that affect media coverage of new food technologies and the impact on public perceptions and consumer behavior toward food that utilizes these technologies. The article starts with a discussion of the ways in which the media influence public perceptions and consumer behavior related to foods made with new technologies. It then covers the incentives of news media and the potential sources of biases in their reporting. The article reviews empirical studies that have examined media reporting of new agricultural and food technologies, especially biotechnology, in terms of both their agenda setting and framing effects and the social amplification of risk. It also synthesizes the findings of studies that have examined the influence of media coverage on public attitudes and consumer behavior.

McCluskey, J., N. Kalaitzandonakes, and J. Swinnen “Media Coverage, Public Perceptions, and Consumer Behavior: Insights from New Food Technologies” Annual Review of Resource Economics, 8:467–86, 2016

See the article here.

EMAC researchers publish new book

The Coexistence of Genetically Modified, Organic and Conventional Foods: Government Policies and Market Practices

Kalaitzandonakes, N., Phillips, P.W.B., Wesseler, J., Smyth, S.J. (Eds.)

Publisher: Springer, New York.

Since their commercial introduction in 1996, genetically modified (GM) crops have been adopted by farmers around the world at impressive rates. In 2017, 180 million hectares of GM crops were cultivated by more than 15 million farmers in 30 countries. Global adoption is expected to grow even faster as the research pipeline for new biotech traits and crops has significantly expanded in recent years. The adoption of GM crops has led to increased productivity while reducing pesticide use and the emissions of agricultural greenhouse gases, leading to broadly distributed economic benefits across the global food supply chain.

Despite the rapid uptake of GM crops, the various social and economic benefits, as well as the expanding rate of innovation, the use of GM crops remains controversial in parts of the world. Coexistence between GM, organic, and conventional crops has also emerged as a key policy and practical issue of global scale. Governments and market stakeholders in many countries are grappling with policy alternatives that settle conflicting property rights, minimize negative market externalities and associated liabilities, maximize the economic benefits of innovation, and allow producer and consumer choice. The book intends to assist stakeholders and others in understanding these issues with contributions from the top theoreticians, legal and economic analysts, policy makers, and industry practitioners in the field. As the economics and policy of coexistence start to emerge as a separate subfield in agricultural, environmental, and natural resource economics with an increasing number of scholars working on the topic, the book also provides a comprehensive base in the literature for those entering the area, making it of interest to students, scholars, and policy makers alike.

Find the book here.