African Journal of Biotechnology

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Industrial biotechnology for developing countries: The case for genetically modified biofuels in Kenya

Alphanso Williams, Stuart J Smyth, William A Kerr


Attempts to diversify the energy portfolios of developed countries with green technologies have brought competition between food and fuel for crop production resources to the forefront of public policy debates. Biofuel policies in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) mandate the long-term use of renewable energy in transportation, independent of production capacity and technical feasibility. Both the US and EU policies explicitly allow for biofuel imports and, hence, have the potential to provide developing countries with export opportunities. For example, the EU is seen as a market that could be supplied with biofuels produced in Kenya. As a result, contentious land acquisitions have been made in Kenya to make way for sugar cane and jatropha cultivation for biofuel production. One potential means of improving the efficiency of Kenya’s agricultural sector is the application of transgenic technologies. The objective of this article is to assess whether a biofuel industry could be developed in Kenya, based on the use of genetically modified (GM) feedstocks to supply the EU demand for biofuel. This article concludes that GM agriculture will improve the economic returns for those Kenyan farmers willing to engage in the production of GM biofuel crops.

Keywords: Barriers to trade, energy policy, genetically modified (GM) crops, international trade, land-use policy

African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 12(15), pp. 1722-1731
AJOL African Journals Online