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Innovation in Biotechnology Seeds: Public and Private Initiatives in India and China


Katherine Linton, Mihir Torsekar


This paper compares and contrasts how innovation—the successful introduction of new products, services, or techniques—is occurring in biotechnology seeds in China and India. We begin with an overview of the agricultural challenges faced by China and India and the substantial investments that both countries are making in agricultural research and development (R&D) and biotechnology to address these challenges. We next describe each country’s approach to three factors identified by industry as important to innovation in biotech seeds: market access, intellectual property (IP) protection, and efficient regulatory review processes. We find substantial problems in all three areas including limited market access for foreign firms in China and significant price caps in India; limitations and gaps in IP protection and enforcement; and lengthy delays in regulatory review. We conclude with a case study highlighting how the three factors shaped the introduction and adoption of the first widely commercialized biotech crop in China and India, Bt cotton.