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Seminar: GMOs and Drought Tolerant Crop Varieties

Seminar: GMOs and Drought Tolerant Crop Varieties

Seminar: GMOs and Drought Tolerant Crop Varieties

Dr. David Zilberman
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
University of California Berkeley

Friday, February 21, 2014

Orbach Science Library, Room 240, 12:00-1:30 pm

Abstract:  Concern about climate change, population growth, and lack of water availability has led to the development of a wide array of technologies in agriculture. One of these technologies is genetically modified [GM] varieties. This technology applies new developments in molecular and cell biology to agriculture. While they have only been adopted in a select few crops, they have made a major difference, increasing the supply of corn, soybean, and cotton substantially, reducing their prices to make meats more affordable to the poor, and reducing the footprint of agriculture. Yet, there is significant resistance to GMOs motivated by honest uncertainty, but also commercial interest.  One of the most touted applications of GMOs is in drought-tolerant varieties. Drought tolerance is one of the applications of GM that seems tolerable and has been supported in Africa and other developing countries. While adoption of these technologies has merit, under many circumstances it is likely to be less beneficial to farmers than pest-controlling varieties, which can have major positive impacts on their lives. Introduction of pest controlling varieties may actually enhance the adoption of drought tolerant varieties.

About the Presenter:  Professor David Zilberman holds the Robinson Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at U.C. Berkeley, with areas of expertise including agricultural and environmental policy, the economics of innovation, risk and marketing, and water, pest control; biotechnology and climate change. Professor Zilberman is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) and the Association of Environmental and Resource Economics (AERE), and is the recipient of the 2000 Cannes Water and the Economy Award. He won the AAEA 2002 and 2007 Quality of Research Discovery Award and the 2005 and 2009 AAEA Publication of Enduring Quality Award. He has edited 16 books and coauthored 240 papers in refereed journals. Professor Zilberman received his B. A. in Economics and Statistics at Tel Aviv University, Israel, and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1979.  He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, FAO, USDA, EPA, and CDFA. He also served as Department Chair from 1994 to1999, and was on the boards of the AAEA and C-FARE and on three NRC panels

Contact:

Carol O’Brien
Director Assistant
Water Science and Policy Center
2228 Geology Bldg.
Riverside, CA 92521;
951-827-9772

http://wspc.ucr.edu/

 



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