Agriculture and Human Values 10 (2):31-39 (1993)

This article analyses the results of a series of interviews conducted among leading firms in agrofood designed to assess the strategic importance of biotechnologies. Earlier analyses have emphasized either the revolutionary character of these technologies or the ability of oligopoly structure to contain the potential within existing market patterns. Our interviews would suggest that biotechnologies must be situated within the shift to a demand oriented food system. This has led on the on hand to a preoccupation with quality rather than cost-cutting applications. It has also highlighted the inter-connectedness of the different phases of the agrofood system, since the incentive and the capacity to introduce innovations at any one point in the system depends on their acceptability to other actors in the agrofood chain.Biotechnologies have now become integrated into the competitive strategies of the leading actors but they remain ambiguously placed within the emerging “biotechnology” paradigm. The peculiarities of the agrofood system and the limitations of its industrialization have opened the way to strong consumer pressure based on the demand for quality and “natural” food and agriculture. It remains to be seen whether advanced biotechnologies can be assimilated within these priorities
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DOI 10.1007/BF02217602
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Towards Science-Based Techniques in Agriculture.Pascal Byé & Maria Fonte - 1993 - Agriculture and Human Values 10 (2):16-25.

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