Bt maize for small scale farmers: A case study

  • DP Keetch
  • A Ngqaka
  • R Akanbi
  • P Mahlanga
Keywords: Bt maize, GM white maize, small scale farmers

Abstract

The role of biotechnology in small holder agricultural systems has been the subject of much debate in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as a whole. The debate has centered on the suitability of biotechnology crops in small holder agricultural systems. In South Africa, genetically modified (GM) white maize was approved for commercial production in 1998. To educate and inform small-scale farmers and to give them the opportunity to evaluate GM white maize for themselves, six demonstration plots were planted at strategic locations. This communications presents the results obtained from these six demonstration plots. In all plots it was found that GM maize gave higher yields and had less stalk borer damage than the comparable non GM variety. GM white maize can be beneficial to small scale farmers located in areas where maize stalk borer is a major
production factor. However, it is important that the authorities provide an effective extension service and financial support in order that the full potential of GM white maize can be experienced.
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eISSN: 1684-5315