Caught between Scylla and Charybdis: impact estimation issues from the early adoption of GM maize in Honduras
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Insect-resistant/herbicide-tolerant (Bt/RR) maize has been approved for commercialization in Honduras, and has been sold commercially since 2006. In 2007-2008, we conducted a survey of 113 farmers in the country, including 67 Bt/RR adopters and 46 conventional maize users. We also conducted agronomic, small- and large-plot experiments in situ and one crop-cycle planting with a Farmer Field School. Adopters were few and difficult to locate in a random sampling framework. We applied a battery of diagnostic and estimation methods to address these problems of outliers and endogeneity. Results based on robust and instrumental variables regression of survey data suggest that in the presence of target insects, producers may observe reduced pest damage and/or a decrease in pesticide applications. Results are quite sensitive to the presence of outliers. Nevertheless, results from the agronomic, in situ, and Farmer Field School tend to support the conclusions from our survey analysis.
AgBioForum, 15(2), 138-151.