Socio-economic impact of biotechnology applications: some lessons from the pilot tissue-culture (TC) banana production promotion project in Kenya, 1997-2002

Citation:
Mbogo SG;, Wambugu F;, Wakhusama S. "Socio-economic impact of biotechnology applications: some lessons from the pilot tissue-culture (TC) banana production promotion project in Kenya, 1997-2002."; 2003.

Abstract:

This article is based on a socio-economic impact study of the introduction and adoption of tissue-culture (tc) technology in banana production in Kenya. It attempts to demonstrate that a prudent introduction and promotion of a new biotechnological innovation in farming can make a positive contribution to the socio-economic status of resource poor farmers in a developing country, such as Kenya. Adoption of tc technology in banana production in Kenya is considered a good example of biotechnological applications in agriculture. Hence the article hopes to make a contribution to recent debates at international levels as to whether biotechnology can make a difference in uplifting the living standards of people in the third world (Qaim, 1999; Graff, et al 2002; Qaim, et al 2002) by showing that it actually does so, using experiences from Kenya. The study utilizes both primary and secondary data sources. The results show that tc-banana production is relatively more capital intensive than non-tc banana production (re: about 70% fixed costs for tc banana versus about 49% fixed costs for non-tc banana). However, tc-banana production is found to offer relatively much higher financial returns than non-tc banana production. The high profitability of tc-banana production relative to traditional (non-tc) banana production and other farm enterprises in the pilot tc-banana project area in Kenya demonstrates the importance of biotechnological applications in rural development and shows that biotechnology can make a difference in uplifting the living standards of people in the third world. Therefore, efforts to promote tc-banana production in Kenya are justifiable from both food security and economic criteria.

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