Institution: International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
- Ph.D. Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, 1980
- Married, 2 children
- Born: Troy, New York, Aug. 23, 1951
- Experience: Comes from family with farming tradition in Colombia. His main experience has been with coffee, citrus, rice and poultry.
- 1980-82: Economist USDA, Washington
- 1982-84: Consultant, FAO-CIAT Project: Demand for Meats in Latin America
- 1985-92: CIAT Economist. Cassava, rice and savanna programs
- 1993-1994: Consultant, Minister of Agriculture, Colombia
- 1994-present, Executive Director, FLAR and Rice Economist, CIAT
- Author and editor of publications on the rice economy and the process of technology generation and adoption in Latin America.
Title: "Germplasm-based technologies that benefit consumers: The case of livestock and rice in Latin America and the Caribbean." Co-author: Libardo Rivas.
Beef, milk, and rice are basic foods in the diets of Latin Americans. The paper examines the distribution of benefits from the adoption of new germplasm-based technologies in the production of these commodities, where consumers are the main beneficiaries. During the past three decades, there have been significant gains in the productivity of rice throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) associated with the development and adoption of improved germplasm and related management practices. As a consequence, lower unit production costs were transmitted to the consumer in the form of lower prices. The first part of this paper gathers information from previous studies documenting the ex-post impact of the new rice technologies. Rice is an important food staple in the tropical countries where it often constitutes the main source of calories and protein for the lowest 20% income group. The ex-ante benefits associated with these gains, discounted at an annual rate of 5%, show that consumers received most of the surplus ($518 million per year) but producers also gained ($340 million per year). Within this last group, there were winners (irrigated and lowland rice ecosystems) and losers (upland growers in both mechanized and traditional systems). The second part of the paper calculates ex-ante benefits of research in improved forages. Beef and milk are the main source of protein for the population as a whole in all countries of LAC. Household food expenditure shares in these commodities go from 20% to 30% depending on income strata. Research efforts are now responsible for a significant amount of improved forages, well adapted to tropical conditions, where about 60% of the livestock activity takes place. This paper calculates that the ex-ante flow of surpluses from these technologies, for the next 35 years, will be around $235 million per year (discounted at 5% annually). However, the distribution of these benefits among consumers and producers greatly varies according to the assumptions made for the type of economy (open or closed). The scenario with a closed economy reveals that the brunt of the benefits (86%) go to consumers; in contrast, in a partially opened economy (where only exports are allowed), producers become important receivers (48%). The ex-ante benefits were calculated using MODEXC, a partial equilibrium model developed at CIAT that calculates consumer and producer surpluses. The analysis ignores the presence of significant distortions in international trade --a major deterrent to food production in developing countries--. Its partial equilibrium approach is also a limitation, as the additional wealth generated by the new technologies generates important backward and forward linkages as well as spillover effects in the rest of the economy that cannot be fully taken into account by the model. However, the results are useful to compare the returns of alternative research opportunities under similar market conditions and to assist decision-makers in establishing research priorities.