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      Pluto Journals
      Australia, agrobiotechnology, farming, survey results


            Biotechnology has the potential to impact significantly upon agriculture. However, although biotechnology is being promoted by the Australian Government and the National Farmers’ Federation, there are growing concerns about the environmental and social impacts of biotechnological applications.

            A survey of representatives of rural producer organisations was undertaken to assess the policy positions of those groups who will be most affected by the new developments. It was found that few groups had actually developed a policy and that many representatives were personally uncertain and unclear about the position of the members. A major difference was observed between organic farming organisations — which form a small proportion of the total number of groups surveyed (and which are opposed to further biotechnological development) — and conventional farming organisations which express widespread and largely uncritical support of agrobiotechnological research and development in Australia.


            Author and article information

            Critical Studies in Innovation
            Pluto Journals
            December 1993
            : 11
            : 2
            : 234-251
            8629356 Prometheus, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1993: pp. 234–251
            Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Page count
            Figures: 0, Tables: 0, References: 56, Pages: 18
            Original Articles

            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics
            survey results,agrobiotechnology,farming,Australia


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            2. S. Harlander, J.B. Miller, and L. Steenson, ‘Impact of biotechnology on food and non food uses of agricultural products’, in Baumgardt and Martin, op. cit.

            3. Tait J.. 1990. . “Environmental risks and the regulation of biotechnology. ”. In Technological Change and the Rural Environment . , Edited by: Lowe P., Marsden T. and Whatmore S.. London : : Fulton. .

            4. W. Sundquist and J. Molnar, ‘Emerging biotechnologies: impacts on producers’, in Baumgardt and Martin, op. cit.

            5. Begg J. and Peacock J.. 1990. . “Modern genetic and management technologies in Australian agriculture. ”. In Agriculture in the Australian Economy . , Third edition. , Edited by: Williams D.. Sydney : : Sydney University Press. .

            6. M. Doyle and E. Marth, ‘Food safety issues in biotechnology’, in Baumgardt and Martin, op. cit.

            7. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Genetic Manipulation: the Threat or the Glory? Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1992.

            8. Sundquist and Molnar, op. cit.; House of Representatives Standing Committee, op. cit.

            9. Martin and Baumgardt, op. cit.

            10. ibid.

            11. Hoberlink H.. 1991. . Biotechnology and the Future of World Agriculture . , London : : Zed Books. .

            12. Busch L., Lacy W., Burkhardt J. and Lacy L.. 1991. . Plants, Power and Profit: Social, Economic and Ethical Consequences of the New Biotechnologies . , Massachusetts : : Basil Blackwell. .

            13. Goodman D., Sorj B. and Wilkinson J.. 1987. . From Farming to Biotechnology: a Theory of Agro-Industrial Development . , Oxford : : Basil Blackwell. .

            14. Harlander et al., op. cit.

            15. House of Representatives Standing Committee, op cit.

            16. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, New Developments in Biotechnology: Public Perceptions of Biotechnology, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1987; Goodman et al., op. cit.; J. Kloppenburg, First the Seed: the Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology 1492–2000, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987; G. Otero, ‘The coming revolution of biotechnology: a critique of Buttel’, paper presented to Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Washington, D.C., 12–17 December, 1990; G. Otero, ‘Biotechnology and economic restructuring: toward a new technological paradigm in agriculture?’, in A. Sasson (ed.), Economic and Socio-Cultural Implications of Biotechnology in the Third World, UNESCO, Paris, 1991; G. Otero, ‘University-industry relations and biotechnology in the sugar industries: contrasts between Mexico and the United States’, in I. Ahmed (ed.), Biotechnology: A Threat or a Hope? (forthcoming).

            17. Buttel F.. 1990. . “Sociological impacts. ”. In Agricultural Biotechnology: Opportunities for International Development . , Edited by: Persley G.. p. 313 Wallingford , , UK: : CAB International. .

            18. Australian Farm Journal, 2, 8, November 1992.

            19. P. Hallen, ‘Genetic Engineering: “Miracle of Deliverance” or “Destroyer of Worlds”’, in R. Haynes (ed.), High Tech: High Cost? Technology, Society and the Environment, Pan, Chippendale, 1991; J. Marois, J. Grieshop, and L. Butler, ‘Environmental risks and benefits in biotechnology’, in Baumgardt and Martin op. cit.; R. Hindmarsh, ‘Diminishing biotechnology: a world under siege’, in Haynes, op. cit.; R. Hindmarsh, Agriculture: biotechnologies: ecosocial concerns for a sustainable agriculture’, in G. Lawrence. F. Vanclay and B. Furze (eds), Agriculture, Environment and Society: Contemporary Issues for Australia, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1992.

            20. Hindmarsh, ibid.; R. Hindmarsh, D. Burch and K. Hulsman, ‘Agrobiotechnology in Australia; issues of control, collaboration and sustainability’, Prometheus, 9, 2, 1991.

            21. See G. Lawrence, Capitalism and the Countryside: the Rural Crisis in Australia, Pluto, Sydney, 1987; Hobberlink, op. cit.

            22. See House of Representatives Standing Committee, op. cit.

            23. Goodman et al., op. cit.; Otero, (forthcoming) op. cit.

            24. McMichael P.. 1992. . Tensions between national and international control of the world food order: contours of a new food regime. . Sociological Perspectives . , Vol. 35((2))

            25. Buttel, op. cit.

            26. P. Lasley, E. Hoiberg and G. Bultena, ‘Is sustainable agriculture an elixir for communities?’, paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Association, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, 16–19 August, 1992; Lawrence et al., op. cit.

            27. Bureau of Rural Resources, Biotechnology in Australia: Perspective and Issues for Animal Production, Working Paper WP/16/91, Department of Primary Industries and Energy, 1991, p.1.

            28. Congressional Office, op. cit.

            29. Begg and Peacock, op. cit.; Marois et al., op. cit.

            30. W. Lacy, L. Busch and L. Lacy, ‘Public perceptions of agricultural biotechnologies’, in Baumgardt and Martin, op. cit.

            31. Congressional Office, op. cit.

            32. Lacy et al., op. cit.

            33. ibid.

            34. INRA (Europe), Eurobarometer 35, 1: Opinions of Europeans on Biotechnology, Report Undertaken on Behalf of the Director-General of Science, Research and Development of the European Communities, INRA, Brussels, 1991.

            35. Reported in Lacy et al., op. cit.

            36. ibid, and see T. Hoban, Agricultural Biotechnologies: Public Attitudes and Educational Needs, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 1990.

            37. National Farmers’ Federation, Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, NFF Policy Statement, April, NFF, Canberra, 1991, p.2.

            38. ibid.

            39. ibid., p.5.

            40. Plein L.. 1991. . “Popularising” biotechnology: the influence of issue definition. . Science, Technology and Human Values . , Vol. 16((4)) August;

            41. House of Representatives Standing Committee, op. cit., p.iii.

            42. ibid., p.96.

            43. ibid., p.238.

            44. ibid., p.122.

            45. Otero, 1991, op. cit.; Busch et al., op. cit.

            46. House of Representatives Standing Committee, op. cit., p.108.

            47. Goodman et al., op. cit.; Tait, op. cit.

            48. G. Lawrence and F. Vanclay, ‘Biotechnology, and globalisation: the contribution of biotechnology to agro-food restructuring in Australia’, paper presented to the 15th European Congress of Rural Sociology, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2–6 August, 1993.

            49. See ibid., and C. Beus and R. Dunlap, ‘Conventional versus alternative agriculture: the paradigmatic roots of the debate’, Rural Sociology, 55, 4, 1990.

            50. Lasley et al., op. cit., p.5.

            51. See discussion in Lawrence, op. cit.; Beus and Dunlap, op. cit.; and G. Lawrence, ‘Farm structural adjustment: the imperative for the nineties?’, Rural Society, 2, 4, December, 1992.

            52. Bureau of Rural Resources, op. cit.

            53. Lawrence 1992, op. cit.

            54. Australian Conservation Foundation. . 1991. . Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology . , Canberra : : Australian Conservation Foundation. .

            55. Hindmarsh et al.; G. Lawrence, ‘Agriculture and biotechnology: prospects for sustainability’, paper delivered at the Ecopolitics VII Conference, Griffith University, 2–4 July, 1993.

            56. Hindmarsh et al.; Lawrence and Vanclay, op. cit.


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