The socioeconomics of genetically modified biofortified crops: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract or Summary

Building upon the growing interest and research on genetically modified (GM) biofortification, its socioeconomic potential has been increasingly examined. We conducted two systematic reviews and meta-analyses to provide comprehensive evidence of consumers’ willingness to pay (11 economic valuation studies, 64 estimates) and cost-effectiveness/benefits (five economic evaluation studies, 30 estimates). Worldwide, consumers were willing to pay 23.9% more for GM biofortified food crops. Aside from crop and design-related differences, information provision was deemed crucial. Positive information (nutrition and GM benefits) is associated with the highest consumer willingness to pay, compared with negative, objective, and conflicting GM information, especially when negative information was mentioned last. This health intervention would reduce the aggregated micronutrient deficiency burden in Asia (15.6 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)) by 12.5–51.4%, at a low cost of USD 7.9–27.8 per DALY in a pessimistic and optimistic scenario, respectively. Given that GM biofortified crops could tackle hidden hunger in a cost-effective and well-accepted way, its implementation is worth pursuing. A case study on folate biofortification further elaborates on the importance of socioeconomic research and the determinants of their market potential.

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