Gender and Health Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops in Developing Countries

The agricultural sector in developed countries still out-performs its counterpart in most developing economies. However, new technologies hold great promise for correcting the imbalance. For example, genetically engineered (GE) crops can help increase agricultural productivity, enhance the nutritional value of food, reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, and promote market competitiveness. But along with the benefits come potential risks to health, the environment, livelihoods and farming systems. The Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and Biosafety Protocol urge member countries to take social and economic considerations into account when making decisions about the deployment of GE crops.

While a significant body of literature on the overall impact of GE crop adoption exists, the gender and health impacts have so far received only cursory attention. This grant will therefore allow the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) to study the gender and health aspects of GE crop commercialization in developing countries. Expected outputs include reports on the impact of GE crops on women and men, and on human health; a series of journal articles; country-specific policy briefs; and a framework and platform for sharing knowledge on the subject (South-South collaboration).

Researchers will examine the gender issues that may affect the adoption of GE crops in developing countries; the gender impacts derived from the adoption of GE crops in developing countries; the impact of GE crops on the use of various pesticides by Chinese farmers; the impact of reduced use of pesticides (due to adoption of GE crops) on farmers' health; and the economic value to farmers of avoiding the adverse health effects of pesticides. In the process, the project will build the research capacity of national teams including junior researchers and graduate students. The idea is to encourage gender- sensitive agricultural policy that will direct agricultural innovations to women and men farmers equally. The ultimate goal is to contribute to food and nutritional security as well as poverty alleviation in Asia.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

End Date

Monday, September 16, 2013


36 months

IDRC Officer

Osir, Ellie Onyango

Total funding

CA$ 612,800


China, Far East Asia, Philippines, Central Asia, South Asia


Networked Economies

Project Leader

Jose Falck Zepeda


International Food Policy Research Institute

Institution Country

United States

Institution Website

Project Leader

Jikun, Huang


Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Institution Country


Institution Website