The International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR)



Biotechnology, farm management and local agricultural development


Maria Teresa Gorgitano, Valeria Sodano, UniversitÓ di Napoli Federico II





The paper analyses the impact of biotechnologies on decision processes and innovation patterns at farm level. It refers the main results of our recent survey on innovation process in the tomato sector in Campania, a Southern Italy region. In the last twenty years tomato growing in Campania has dramatically fallen because of plant diseases and hardly competition of other Southern regions.

To stop the tomato decline local public and private institutions made big efforts in reaching new technologies to solve both plant diseases and competitive problems. Two kinds of aims were pursued: a) the research of resistance genes to pathogenes, also using new techniques like breeding assisted by molecular markers; b) the research of markers allowing the identification and the certification of tomatoes typically grown in Campania, for which consumers are willing to pay a price premium for quality.

We interviewed a sample of growers to test the impact of these new technologies on the farmer’s decision to enter again in the tomato market. Through a vis a vis questionnaire we collected data on the possible impact of available biotechnologies both on economic results and on the farmer’s perception of the role they could play in raising competitiveness. The use of biotechnologies was compared with alternative innovations to identify the most likely innovation patterns. The analytical framework used is rooted on cognitive features of a innovative process and on local environment (milieu) role.

Results suggest that in spite of great opportunities offered by new technologies their adoption at farm level is linked to two factors playing a special role: the peculiarity of the local production processes and the farmer’s capability to manage completely the interaction between production, organisation and innovation within farm. While some farmers believe that the sector will be on the mend, the large part of them don’t trust new technologies and are ready to leave the sector when economic conditions will get worse.



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