By Clet Wandui Masiga Conservation Biologist, Geneticist and Farm Entrepreneur
A study done by John Herbert Ainembabazi and colleagues published on September 28, 2015 by PLOS supports investment in the development of GM banana resistant to Xanthomonas wilt disease. The main beneficiaries of this technology development are farmers and consumers, although the latter benefit more than the former from reduced prices. The study recommends that designing a participatory breeding program involving farmers and consumers signifies the successful adoption and consumption of GM banana in the target countries.
The results from the study indicate that on the release of GM banana for commercialization, the expected initial adoption rate ranges from 21 to 70%, while the ceiling adoption rate is up to 100%. Investment in the development of GM banana is economically viable. However, aggregate benefits vary substantially across the target countries ranging from US$20million to 953million, highest in countries where disease incidence and production losses are high, ranging from 51 to 83% of production. The study was done in the great lakes region focusing on Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, D R Congo, Burndi, Rwanda and Tanzania where banana bacterial wilt disease is a big threat to banana production. The full article is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4587572/