This paper argues that current forms of agricultural biotechnology have significant potential for developing countries; the challenge is to realize this potential. We develop a conceptual model that explains why the yield effects of GMVs (genetically modified varieties) tend to be significant and reduce chemical use, contributing to human welfare, and present results from empirical studies that support these findings. We demonstrate that the adoption of GMVs might not necessarily lead to elimination of many varieties. Instead, crop biodiversity may be enhanced. Finally, we discuss how IPR constraints can be addressed, and new institutions that are already emerging may be used to allow developing countries more access to IPRs.
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