WP4: Review of socio-economic issues
Genetically modified (GM) crops and plants have substantially increased farm incomes and reduced the use of pesticides in parts of the US and some developing countries. However, knowledge of the potential socio-economic benefits of GM crops is still incomplete as findings are restricted to particular parts of the world and mainly consider economic effects at farm level. Differences in consumer knowledge, perceptions and attitudes towards GMOs have further complicated the implementation of consensus approval processes and labelling of GM plants. Political interventions have been criticized for creating barriers to international trade and threatening the supply of feed and food in developing countries.
GRACE will systematically review the socio-economic studies on GM plants from all world regions to assess
- potential benefits at farm level,
- aggregate welfare effects
- consumer issues and trade issues, including international supply chains
- regulatory issues
The review teams will consist of external experts on the socio-economics of GMOs and subcontractors appointed by the project partners – the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). Regular workshops will be held with the project partners and review teams.
To start with, they will refine the relevant review questions, review strategies (e.g. narrative or systematic review) and literature selection criteria.
In the second stage, the teams will develop an online questionnaire to capture all research activities worldwide related to the socio-economics of GM plants (scientific publications, teaching, funding, etc. in the field of socio-economics of GMOs). This online survey will be embedded in several professional research networks (e.g. via the International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR), authors on the AgBioForum, the socio-economics forum of the Biosafety Clearing-House, the European Biotechnology Thematic Network Association, Eurobiotech, etc.).
The selected data and literature will be evaluated by the review teams on the basis of the criteria defined for the quality assessment, and filed in the GRACE database (see also WP6). For quality control purposes, all the review results and drafted recommendations will be shared between the two project partners and with all the review teams before they are published in a final report on the project website. Additional activities such as media presentations, stakeholder dialogues and workshops are planned to ensure maximum transparency with project partners, stakeholders and the public.
The database CADIMA (Central Access Database for Impact Assessment of Crop Genetic Improvement Technologies) contains quality assessed studies and conclusions on the health effects, socio-economic consequences and environmental impacts of GM plants as well as raw data of animal feeding studies and alternative in vitro approaches.