The International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR)


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Quality product development and the organization of agricultural sectors
Stéphane Lemarié
INRA/SERD Grenoble, France

Plant genetic innovation for agriculture are commonly classified in two categories : progress on input traits leads to productivity increase while progress on output traits leads to enhancement of product quality. The range of actors involved for the two types of innovation is quite different : input trait innovation (ITI) involve agriculture suppliers and farmer's, output trait innovation (OTI) involve food processors or other industries using output from agriculture. In other terms, the standard of agricultural outputs are maintained with ITI, while OTI leads to take some distance from the standard (modification of the standard, or creation of a niche).

It is commonly recognized that (i) most of the innovations in plant breeding until now have concerned input, and that (ii) the main cases for OTI has been leading to modification of the standard (e.g. the Canola case). Until now, the first rule has also been respected for the innovation from genetic engineering : the main GMO diffused in North America until 98 have contained herbicide or insects resistance. However, analysts recognized that GMO will be developed in a significant way via enhancement of product quality.

The paper will address the development of genetically modified products. First, a review of actual and near future innovations in this domain will be done. Second a typology of the different quality products cases will be proposed, based on the range of actors involved the diffusion of this innovation. For each type, the interest of the different partners will be studied. Finally, a series of hypothesis will be proposed to explain why quality product has not been developed until now, but could be developed in the near future. In other terms, does this development lies only on the development of new techniques (i;e. biotechnology) or does it depends more on the socio-economic context.