GM Banana in Uganda: Social Benefits, Costs, and Consumer Perceptions

Banana is a staple crop in Uganda. The Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization has implemented conventional and biotechnology programs to improve bananas and address the crop's most important pest and disease problems. A major thrust is the development of genetically modified (GM) bananas. A paper published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) examines the potential social welfare impacts of adopting GM banana in the country.

Results of MISTICs estimation (maximum incremental social tolerable irreversible costs) indicate that in delaying the approval of a GM banana, Uganda foregoes potential annual benefits ranging approximately from US$179 million to US$365 million. Although GM bananas promise vast benefits, realization of those benefits, however, depends on consumers' perceptions and attitudes and the willingness to pay for the GM technology.

The report is available at http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/dp/ifpridp00767.asp

This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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