Keywords: biosafety laws, biotechnology, GM cotton farming, environmental sustainability, genetically modified organisms, GMOs, risk assessment, rural development, transgenic organisms, Turkey, Turkish agriculture, sustainable development, safety
GM cotton and its possible contributions to environmental sustainability and rural development in Turkey
Cotton farming in Turkey faces economic, environmental and socioeconomic challenges. Organic cotton has been a successful response that greatly benefited low-input farmers; but, worldwide, it will eventually become a mature niche market with limited growth potential. Since no Genetically Modified (GM) varieties have been approved so far in Turkey, we want to find out how the potential adoption of GM cotton by input-intensive producers could contribute to economic, social and environmental improvements. When experiences with GM cotton in other countries are applied to the Turkish context, GM cotton is likely to encounter the highest adoption rates in regions that already face significant pest infestation rates. It may eventually mprove the economic and environmental situation in these regions and in the rapidly expanding and increasingly input-intensive cotton growing area of Southeastern Anatolia. To ensure its long-term sustainability Turkey needs to pass an enforceable biosafety law and invest in homegrown agricultural biotechnology research.