Briefings

Sunday 1st February 1987

Issue: The use of biotechnology to produce the intensely sweet thaumatin protein.

Plant: Thaumatin is derived from a fruit of a West-African rain forest shrub.

Countries affected: Product will be marketed as a low-calorie sweetener in Europe, Japan, USA

Impact: In combination with other newly developed sweeteners, these products offer the potential to erode traditional sugar markets

Friday 30th January 1987

Issue: Natural vanilla production via tissue culture technology.

Crop: Vanilla planifolia - the commercially important species of Vanilla orchis

Countries affected: Madagascar, Comoros islands, Reunion, Indonesia

Impact: possible loss of $67 million in annual export earnings. 

Saturday 1st November 1986

Product: Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) or Bovine Somatotropin (BST)

Purpose: Designed to dramatically increase milk production in dairy cattle

Counties affected: USA and Europe initially

Impact: Drop in milk prices, loss of 25-30% of dairy farmers, changes in cropping patterns, narrowing of genetic base of dairy cattle

Tuesday 30th September 1986

Issue: Replacement of major cash crop (Gum Arabic)

Countries affected: Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and others

Impact: Possible loss of $ 60 million in annual export earnings and seasonal employment

New starch-based substitutes for gum arabic and other water soluble gums threaten to replace a major portion of gum exports from several African countries.

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