University of California

Horticultural biotechnology faces significant economic and market barriers


Julian M. Alston

Author Affiliations

J.M. Alston is Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis, and Associate Director for Science and Technology Policy, UC Agricultural Issues Center.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 58(2):80-88. DOI:10.3733/ca.v058n02p80. April 2004.

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Technological change has driven economic progress in agriculture and will continue to play a crucial role in the 21st century. The latest wave of technological change in agriculture is based in molecular biology. Will horticulture participate? Genetically engineered crop varieties have been adopted on a wide scale in some agronomic crops, but horticultural crops face larger hurdles. High costs for research, development and regulatory approval combined with the small acreages planted and the diversity of varieties, will limit the potential for profitable applications of biotechnology to many fruits and vegetables, tree fruits and nuts, and nursery crops. In addition, there are market barriers. Like most important changes in agriculture, modern biotechnology has met with spirited political opposition from some quarters. Threats of political action may discourage food manufacturers and retailers from adopting biotech products that are wanted by some consumers and may be profitable for growers.

Alston J. 2004. Horticultural biotechnology faces significant economic and market barriers. Hilgardia 58(2):80-88. DOI:10.3733/ca.v058n02p80

Also in this issue:

Life history of the incense cedar scale, Xylococculus macrocarpae (Homoptera: Margarodidae), on incense cedar in California with a description of the larvae of one of its common predators, Eronyxa expansus Van Dyke (Coleoptera: Trogositidae)

Challenges and opportunities for horticultural biotechnology

Transgenic acreage grows amid changing regulation

Conventionally bred papaya still possible, even in California

UC researchers evaluating genetically engineered alfalfa

World trade rules affect horticultural biotechnology


Sidebar: Transgenic produce slow to enter evolving global marketplace

Sidebar: Diversity of horticultural biotech crops contributes to market hurdles

Despite benefits, commercialization of transgenic horticultural crops lags

Sidebar: Virus-resistant transgenic papaya helps save Hawaiian industry

Sidebar: Biotechnology expands pest-management options for horticulture

Sidebar: Transgenic trap crops and rootstocks show potential

Consumer knowledge and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology vary

Sidebar: Words matter

Sidebar: Consumers purchase Bt sweet corn

Regulatory challenges reduce opportunities for horticultural biotechnology

Sidebar: IR-4 Project targets specialty crops

Sidebar: China aggressively pursuing horticulture and plant biotechnology

Public-private partnerships needed in horticultural research and development

Access to intellectual property is a major obstacle to developing transgenic horticultural crops

Sidebar: Nonprofit institutions form intellectual-property resource for agriculture

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