Ecological Distribution, Agricultural Trade Liberalization, and In Situ Genetic Diversity
Genetic diversity in crop plants is crucial for long-term world food security. This diversity is sustained in the field primarily by poor farmers in developing countries, who receive no compensation for providing this external benefit to humankind. When agricultural imports displace local production in centers of genetic diversity, this threatens both rural livelihoods and the continued provision of this external benefit. The North American Free Trade Agreement’s impact on Mexican maize farming illustrates the problem. The prospects for remedial policies are shaped by the distribution of the costs and benefits of action and inaction.
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