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Study details essential role of trust in agricultural biotech partnerships
Date:11/1/2012

Trust between partners is a fundamental requisite in agricultural biotech projects, according to Canadian researchers who today published insights from a four year study into what built or undermined trust in eight African case studies.

In a special supplement published in the UK-based journal Agriculture and Food Security, the research team from the Sandra Rotman Centre at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto, concluded trust within such projects has six key determinants: honesty, transparency, capability, accountability, solidarity and generosity.

The body of work examines in unprecedented depth the issue of trust in agricultural biotechnology, capturing important conclusions from 80+ interviews with stakeholders in eight African agbiotech projects spanning seven countries -- Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. None of the study team members was involved in the work of the projects.

"Our interviewees agreed that trust is a very important, if not the most important, factor in the success or failure of an agbiotech public-private partnership," said lead researcher Obidimma Ezezika of the Sandra Rotman Centre. "Trust in these partnerships is especially hard to reach, however, because of the controversy around genetically modified crops, huge distrust of private sector seed companies in this space, and the complexity of the research and development," he added.

"We found that trust in the agbiotech context is defined as one's expectation that the performance and behaviour of another will be supported by tangible results, facilitated by competency and transparency, grounded in a shared vision and guided by integrity."

This definition is important, Dr. Ezezika said, because it provides a checklist to assess the general level of trust within an agbiotech PPP and can be used to tailor regulations, standards and practices that facilitate trust in these par
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert

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