The Value of a New Biotechnology Considering R&D Investment and Regulatory Issues
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The prevalence of the products of biotechnology in Canada’s canola industry is vast. More than 95% of Canada’s seeded area is in herbicide-tolerant (HT) varieties, which are products of biotechnology. Overall, the industry has experienced significant growth; for instance, the area seeded to canola varieties has increased from less than one million hectares (ha) in the 1960s to over 8 million today (Statistics Canada, n.d.). Later in the article we show that the number of commercial varieties available and the index of yields for those varieties have increased sharply since the 1980s (Brewin & Malla, 2012; Phillips, 2001). Agricultural biotechnology could facilitate further productivity growth in crops such as canola. However, the policies and regulations that are in place might need to further evolve to insure continuing growth in the sector. Furthermore, assessing the benefits to Canadian producers by adopting HT and hybrid varieties over time would improve our understanding of the sector and the gains that are possible under comparable regulations for similar sectors. A significant portion of these benefits were facilitated by changing the institutions in Canada to provide incentives to private investment.