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Is GM Soybean Cultivation in Argentina Sustainable?

Pascale Phelinas and Johanna Choumert-Nkolo

World Development, 2017, vol. 99, issue C, 452-462

Abstract: This paper explores the long-term sustainability of Argentina’s specialization in genetically modified (GM) soybean cultivation. We perform an evidence-based assessment of the most relevant economic, social, and environmental implications of the “soybeanization” of Argentinian agriculture. Our diagnostic relies on a combination of published sources and a unique data set drawn from a field survey carried out in 2011 in two provinces of the Argentinian Pampas. This data set allows us to evaluate with a reliable empirical base the socio-economic impacts of GM soybean cultivation. Our analysis suggests a conflict between the success of the “soybeanization” of Argentinian agriculture measured in terms of production and profit records, and the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of this new model of production. On the one hand, GM soybean technological package adoption has increased farm productivity, and reduced the costs per unit produced, resulting in a dramatic increase in profits. On the other hand, the specialization of Argentinian agriculture on soybean cultivation has increased the dependence of public finances on the foreign exchange revenue generated by exports earnings. We also find a mixed empirical picture of changing land distribution patterns and labor displacement resulting from GM soybean expansion. Finally, we find that the environmental implications of agricultural biotechnology appear alarming and the long-term sustainability of GM crops highly questionable. Promoting sustainable agricultural growth has become not only desirable but necessary.

Keywords: Latin America; Argentina; GM soybean; sustainability; agribusiness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Related works:
Working Paper: Is GM Soybean cultivation in Argentina sustainable ? (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Is GM Soybean Cultivation in Argentina Sustainable? (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Is GM Soybean Cultivation in Argentina Sustainable? (2016) Downloads
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