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Policy Influences on Technology for Agriculture: Chemicals, Biotechnology and Seeds (PITA)

Project funded by the EC Targeted Socio-Economic Research Programme (TSER), DGXII.

Project Outline

Technological innovation in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds industries and in associated public sector research establishments (PSREs) has the potential to deliver more socially and environmentally sustainable farming systems and to improve the quality of life in Europe. This is particularly true of farms on the most fertile land.

However, although policies developed in different areas may all aim to improve the quality of life, in practice, in their influence on company and PSRE strategies, they frequently counteract one another and so attenuate the desired effect.

Market-related factors also influence decision making in industry and PSREs, the most important for this project being the policies of food processors and distributors and also public attitudes and opinion, which often set more demanding standards than those of national governments and the EU.

The PITA project first developed an integrated analysis of policies and market-related factors relevant to the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds sectors. The core of the project consisted of an investigation of the impact of these factors on the strategies and decision making of companies and PSREs and the downstream implications of these decisions on employment, international competitiveness and environmental benefits. The range of policies and other influences studied included:

 · policies to stimulate innovation in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds industries;

 · purchasing policies of food processors and distributors;

 · policies for international trade liberalisation;

 · policies for the regulation of industry and farming (for environmental protection and public health and safety, particularly for pesticides and biotechnology);

 · agricultural and farming support policies, particularly for crop production;

· policies to promote environmental sustainability and wildlife biodiversity in arable farming areas;

 · public opinion and attitudes.

The overall aim of the project was to contribute to the development of sustainable industrial and farming systems and an improved quality of life by encouraging the development and uptake of ‘cleaner’ technology for intensive agriculture.


Final Report January 2001 - Report (in .pdf format)


Project Objectives


Objective 1: To develop an integrated analysis of policies and market-related factors relevant to technological innovation in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds sectors, to study their interactions and to develop hypotheses about their impact on strategic decision making in industry and PSREs.

Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain & UK

NEW - Reports ( in .pdf format)   An Integrated Analysis of Government Policies Influencing Innovation in the Agro-chemical, Biotechnology and Seed industries, Germany, Euro-Food: Pressures on R&D National Policy

Conclusions   Summary 


Objective 2: To study the influence of policies and market-related factors on innovation strategies in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds industries and PSREs, and their impact on decisions about product development, levels of investment and location of investment.

Multinational Company (MNC) Monographs and Overview - Reports (in .pdf format)

Overview of the company monographs

Advanta Monograph, AgrEvo Monograph, BASF Monograph, Bayer AG Monograph, Royal Cebeco Group Cooperative Monograph, Danisco Monograph, KWS SAAT AG Monograph, Limagrain Group Monograph, Monsanto Monograph, Novartis Agribusiness Monograph, Pioneer High-Bred International Monograph, Rhone Poulenc Agro Monograph, (figures associated with Rhone Poulenc), Seminis Vegetable Seeds Monograph, Zeneca Agrochemicals Monograph

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in agrochemicals, seeds and plant biotechnology - Reports (in .pdf format)

Overview of the SME reports

Danish, French, German, the Netherlands, Spanish, UK

Public Sector Research establishments (PSREs) in the Fields of Agrochemicals, Seeds and Plant Biotechnology - Reports (in .pdf format)

Overview of the PSREs

Danish, French, German, the Netherlands, Spanish, UK


Objective 3. To study the outcomes of the industry decisions investigated under objective 2, in their effects on employment, on international competitiveness and on their potential to deliver environmental benefits.

Report on Employment (in .pdf format)

Effects of Innovation in the European Agrochemical and Seeds Sectors on Employment and Competitiveness



Partners have the necessary spectrum of expertise in policy analysis and technology management and in interdisciplinary working as follows:

 · UK:
Open University: David Wield.
Edinburgh University: Joyce Tait.

 · Netherlands:
Agricultural Economics Research Institute, The Hague: Jos Bijman.

 · France:

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, SERD, Grenoble, Pierre-Benoit Joly; QAP Decision, Gerald Assouline.

 · Spain:
University of Seville, Carlos Roman, Esther Gravalos

 · Denmark:
South Jutland University Centre, Villy Sogaard

 · Additional Partner:
Anthony Arundel (MERIT, NL).

The countries were chosen to illustrate a range of policy approaches to the issues being studied and to include a significant proportion of the companies and PSREs to be involved in the research.

National level policy studies were carried out in these countries, along with an EU-level analysis.

For the industry-based research, we included all the major multinational companies operating in Europe, including those based in Switzerland, all relevant trade associations, PSREs and small companies, where appropriate, regardless of location in Europe.

Overall coordination was carried out by the UK team. The project ran from December 1997 to July 2000.

Contact for Further Information

Dr David Wield
Centre for Technology Strategy
Faculty of Technology, Open University,
Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Great Britain

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