Genetically-modified (GM) crops have been planted by farmers across the developing world for over a decade. When GM crops were first released there was a massive debate, with some arguing that they would be a disaster and others acclaiming them as a saviour. IDS research has aimed to take a balanced perspective, exploring what happened on the ground in a number of countries, including India, China, Kenya and Argentina.

The promise that GM crops were going to provide the 'pro-poor' solution to agricultural problems has been challenged, but in some places, for some farmers, with some crops they are offering benefits. IDS research has offered a critical and nuanced perspective often missing from the dominant, polarised debates, exploring in particular the political economy and governance challenges of agricultural biotechnology.

Agricultural Biotechnology & Policy Processes in Developing Countries

Modern agricultural biotechnology has profound implications for global and local agricultural and food systems, and for the livelihoods of farmers in the developed and developing worlds. The actual consequences will depend on the pathways along which the technology is developed and applied in practice. More details

GM Crops and Indigenous Management Skill

This project examines the effects of GM seeds on the ‘indigenous management skill’ (IMS) that is crucial to the productivity and sustainability of small-scale crop cultivation. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

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This is the image for the book, 'The Politics of Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change'.

The Politics of Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change

This book addresses key questions on biofuels within agrarian political economy, political sociology and political ecology. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Living with Materiality or Confronting Asian Diversity? The Case of Iron-Biofortified Rice Research in the Philippines

This article draws on findings from a multi-sited study of international science policy processes in rice biofortification. More details

IDS publications on international development research

GM crops in Africa: polarising the debate

Ian Scoones, co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre based at the University of Sussex, UK and Dominic Glover of the Technology and Agrarian Development Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands explore the fallout of a new book on agricultural biotechnology in Africa. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transgenic cotton: A 'pro-poor' success?

Many policy makers, journalists and politicians are keen to celebrate the 'pro-poor success' of genetically modified (GM, transgenic) crops in developing countries. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Undying Promise: Agricultural Biotechnology’s Pro-poor Narrative, Ten Years on

Many people and organisations have sought to promote genetically modified (GM, transgenic) crops as a 'pro-poor' technology. However, developing-country farmers' experiences with GM crops have been mixed. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Made by Monsanto: the Corporate Shaping of GM Crops as a Technology for the Poor

This working paper by Dominic Glover is about the social construction and social shaping of agricultural biotechnology in relation to international development. More details

cover of Understanding Policy Processes review

Understanding Policy Processes: A Review of IDS Research on the Environment

For over a decade, researchers in the IDS Environment Group have been engaging with a growing body of work on policy processes which encompasses among other things: the relationship between science, expertise and policy, political interests, public participation and network theory. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Science, Agriculture and the Politics of Policy: The Case of Biotechnology in India

This book examines the intersections of globalisation, technology and politics through a detailed, empirically-based examination of agricultural biotechnology in India. More details

IDS Working Paper

Contentious Politics, Contentious Knowledges: Mobilising Against GM Crops in India, South Africa and Brazil

Debates about science and technology are central to the future of development. No recent controversy has highlighted this as much as the debates about genetically-modified (GM) crops. Looking at the experiences of anti-GM activism in India, South Africa and Brazil, this paper explores how knowledge and politics are intertwined in mobilisation processes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Biotechnology and the Politics of Truth: From the Green Revolution to an Evergreen Revolution

This paper investigates why and how issues around the diffusion of GM technologies and products to developing countries have become so central to a debate which has shifted away from technical issues of cost-benefit optimisation in a context of uniform mass production and consumption in the North, to the moral case for GM crops to feed the hungry and aid 'development' in the South. More details

Non-IDS publication

Reconstructing policy narratives: the Green Revolution story

The Green Revolution today is the stuff of legend. The literature of the green revolution can never be monocultural. The diversity of perspectives from which it has been analyzed is impressive. More details

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