OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Emerging Maize Biotechnologies and their Potential Impact

Between 1955 and 1985 world maize production almost doubled. With little new land available, future growth in world production must come from higher yields and, hence, from new technologies. This paper describes some of the emerging maize biotechnologies, outlines progress made in R & D and discusses their possible impact on maize production.

At present, the new biotechnologies are directed more towards quality enhancement (modification of starch, protein or oil content) and towards endowing plants with particular properties (herbicide tolerance, resistance to pests or adverse weather conditions) than towards increasing yields per se. They offer hope for reduced environmental stress through reduced levels of application of agricultural chemicals. Like earlier technologies, however, most new biotechnologies will be incorporated in seeds and will therefore complement and continue to depend on, traditional plant breeding.

A new maize research and technology development system is ...


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