Genetic Erosion in Traditional Food Crops in the Pacific Islands: Background, Socioeconomic Causes and Policy Issues - WP193 Amended

Tisdell, Clem (2014). Genetic Erosion in Traditional Food Crops in the Pacific Islands: Background, Socioeconomic Causes and Policy Issues - WP193 Amended. Economics, Ecology and Environment: Working Paper 196, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Tisdell, Clem
Title Genetic Erosion in Traditional Food Crops in the Pacific Islands: Background, Socioeconomic Causes and Policy Issues - WP193 Amended
School, Department or Centre School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Open Access Status Other
Series Economics, Ecology and Environment: Working Paper
Report Number 196
Publication date 2014-07
Publisher The University of Queensland School of Economics
Total pages 26
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The genetic diversity of traditional food crops is rapidly declining in the Pacific Islands, as is also true globally. This loss in the Pacific is of particular concern worldwide because some of these islands (such as New Guinea) are primary centres of origin of several globally important food crops (e.g. bananas and sugar cane). This article provides background information on the evolution of the diversity of these crops, investigates (within the Pacific context) the socioeconomic reasons for this loss, analyses its possible economic consequences, and considers the economic benefits and costs of conserving crop varieties. The potential economic benefits foregone by failing to conserve a crop variety that possesses genetic attributes which would counter a productivity reducing new disease or environmental development is shown to depend on the nature of the demand function for the crop’s production. Other things being held constant, this potential loss is greater the larger is the absolute demand for a crop’s production and the more inelastic is this demand. Staple crop’s production seem to satisfy these conditions, especially the first one. In fact, gene banks in the Pacific Islands have concentrated on conserving varieties of staple crops. However, ignoring the conservation of minor traditional crops may not always be optimal, given that circumstances change. The economics and costs associated with the conservation of crop diversity in situ and ex situ are discussed. The effective analysis of this is shown to be challenging but it is an important consideration in making conservation decisions.   Unfortunately, this subject appears to have received little attention in the Pacific as well as globally
Keyword Biodiversity Loss
Crop Varieties
Gene banks
Genetic capital
Food crops
Food security
Pacific Islands
Sustainable development.
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes ISSN 1327-8231

Document type: Working Paper
Collection: School of Economics Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 28 Aug 2014, 15:20:12 EST by Emeritus Professor Clement Tisdell on behalf of School of Economics