The establishment of an international fund for the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources, participation of governments in the UN Food and Agriculture Organizations International undertaking to promote full exchange of genetic resources, and the establishment of an international system of gene banks under FAO auspices.
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
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.
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
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.