Schnurr & Dowd-Uribe. (2021). Anticipating farmer outcomes of three genetically modified staple crops in sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from farming systems research. Journal of Rural Studies, 88, 377-387.


The research presented in this paper offers a different evaluative approach for new GM crops by taking inspiration from farming systems research (FSR). We use the conceptual starting point of FSR scholarship—the farming system—to conduct an exploratory predictive analysis of three GM crops currently in the experimental pipeline: Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) in Kenya, disease-resistant matooke banana in Uganda, and Bt cowpea in Burkina Faso. Our findings suggest that the lofty projected benefits of these crops are unlikely to be realized by many, if not most, smallholder farmers due to incongruences with the farming systems they are designed to benefit. This research demonstrates the importance of using farming system-based evaluation methods to better anticipate likely farm-level outcomes of new breeding technologies.

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