Keywords: genetically modified foods, GM foods, developing countries, biotechnology acceptance, biotechnology education, agricultural biotechnology, training programmes, participant perceptions, short courses, genetic modification, food security, economics, farmers, environmental NGOs
Forces influencing developing country views of agricultural biotechnology: an analysis of training programme participants' perceptions
Agricultural biotechnology is expanding around the world, but societal acceptance remains an important issue. Michigan State University (MSU) has developed and implemented an agricultural biotechnology short course for developing countries. Four courses were taught to regional groups in 2002–2003 and eight more were taught to geographically diverse groups in 2004–2008. One half day of each course was devoted to issues related to biotechnology acceptance. The participants discussed the pro–GM and anti–GM forces in their countries. Scientists were the top ranked pro–GM force and information was the top anti–GM force. Regional differences were found between forces such as food security and economics. Possible temporal differences included a rising influence of farmers on the pro–GM side and a falling influence of environmental NGOs on the anti–GM side.