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Food self-sufficiency and GM regulation under conflicting interests: the case of GM maize in South Africa

Qianqian Shao, Dusan Drabik, Marnus Gouse and Justus Wesseler ()

Agrekon, 2020, vol. 59, issue 1, 110-128

Abstract: Food self-sufficiency is an important contributor to food security, and one of the potential solutions to this problem is increased food production productivity through agricultural biotechnology. In this paper, we study the relationship between a country’s genetically modified (GM) food policy and the food self-sufficiency rate (SSR) under conflicting interests, with the example of GM crop regulation and GM maize production in South Africa. We develop a theoretical model of a small open economy and investigate the GM food policy as the outcome of a GM and a non-GM food groups’ lobbying game that follows the model of Grossman and Helpman. The government maximises its payoff by considering the weighted sum of social welfare and contributions from interest groups. Our findings suggest that a lower GM food regulation supports domestic agricultural production, and we offer potential reasons why a country that has a low SSR still has a strict GM food policy regulation. We also find that the food SSR is a biased measure of food availability when both production and consumption change simultaneously.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/03031853.2019.1664308

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