Transgenic Crops Could Save Hungarian Farmers 3 Million Euros
Gödöllö - In January the Hungarian agriculture ministry banned Monsanto's Mon810 transgenic Bt maize from being planted or imported until tests had established whether transgenic crops contaminated other cultures (EuroBiotechNews
1-2/05). According to a recent study of scientists of the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, the Hungary Agricultural Economics Research Institute, Budapest, and the Szent István University, Gödöllö, the ban means withholding benefits for Hungarian maize farmers of Euro3 million at 10% adoption. For the study that estimated the potential impact of transgenic maize, sugar beet and oilseed rape for Hungary, the scientists assumed that the crops were introduced in the agricultural season 2003, in which maize, sugar beet and oilseed rape were planted on an acreage of 1,150,000 ha, 53,000 ha and 71,000 ha.
Cornborers and Corn Rootworms Cause Severe Damages
In the Carpathian Basin the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) causes substantial losses in the southern part (northern Serbia), while severe damage is caused less frequently in southern parts of the Trans-Tisza region (Hungarian maize belt), on low-lying areas of the Great Hungarian Plain along the Danube, and in parts of Romania. Less severe damage is also incurred in central and western Hungary. The adoption of resistant Bt maize could save Hungarian farmers Euro19/ha on average. This takes into account a seed price premium of Euro6/ha or 10% of the actual seed cost. Assuming an early adoption rate of 10% for 2003, total benefits aggregate to an estimated Euro3 million, of which farmers and the seed industry share 76% and 24% respectively. The appearance of the Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) in the southern Carpathian Basin is the result of an accidental introduction in Serbia in 1992. Bt maize resistant to this North-American maize pest could also save Hungarian farmers some Euro46/ha (seed price premium of Euro25/ha or 40% of the actual seed cost). Assuming an early adoption rate of 20% in 2003, this translates into a total gain of Euro16 million, with farmers receiving 65% and the seed industry 35%.
Additionally, the introduction of herbicide tolerant maize, sugar beet and oilseed rape could save Hungarian farmers 22, 81 and 20 Euro/ha. The model predicts seed price premiums of 8, 81 and 12 Euro/ha and early adoption rates in 2003 of 40%, 38% and 35%. Herbicide tolerant maize potentially generates Euro14 million, of which 73% is shared by farmers and 27% is extracted by the seed industry. Herbicide tolerant sugar beet involves a further gain of Euro3 million, of which 50% flows to farmers and 50% to the seed industry. Herbicide tolerant oilseed rape could potentially bring a total benefit of Euro0.8 million, of which 61% is for Hungarian farmers and 39% is captured by the seed industry.