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Perspectives of gatekeepers in the Kenyan food industry towards genetically modified food


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  • Bett, Charles
  • Ouma, James Okuro
  • Groote, Hugo De


Attitudes and perceptions of stakeholders are crucial in the acceptability of GM foods. Past research focussed on consumers, but paid little attention to the food industry and its gatekeepers, especially in Africa. Therefore, a survey was conducted covering 39 respondents from the milling industry and supermarkets, the main processors and distributors of maize products, in seven urban centres of Kenya. Respondents, mostly from senior management, were well educated and had a good knowledge of biotechnology. Their major sources of information were the media for the supermarkets, and brochures and the food industry for the milling companies. Respondents generally appreciated the benefits of biotechnology, but had concerns about the environment, although few people considered GM food harmful to human or animal health. Most respondents found traceability of GM products important, but would prefer not to label them because of the costs and possible negative consumer reactions. Respondents were largely non-committal on the use of GM products in their companies, preferring to decide on a case-by-case basis. The few negative responses, mostly from the milling industry, were affected by high risk and low benefit perceptions. Most respondents do not like the idea of labelling GM food. Better communication between research and the food industry is now needed, and more research on the labelling of GM products.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

Volume (Year): 35 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 332-340

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:35:y:2010:i:4:p:332-340

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Keywords: Consumers Gatekeepers Attitudes Perceptions GM Kenya;


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  1. Simon Chege Kimenju & Hugo De Groote, 2008. "Consumer willingness to pay for genetically modified food in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(1), pages 35-46, 01.
  2. Lusk, Jayson L. & Jamal, Mustafa & Kurlander, Lauren & Roucan, Maud & Taulman, Lesley, 2005. "A Meta-Analysis of Genetically Modified Food Valuation Studies," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(01), April.
  3. Knight, John G. & Mather, Damien W. & Holdsworth, David K., 2005. "Impact of genetic modification on country image of imported food products in European markets: Perceptions of channel members," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 385-398, August.
  4. Kushwaha, Saket & Musa, A.S. & Lowenberg-DeBoer, James & Fulton, Joan R., 2004. "Consumer Acceptance Of Gmo Cowpeas In Sub-Sahara Africa," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20216, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  5. Costa-Font, Montserrat & Gil, José M. & Traill, W. Bruce, 2008. "Consumer acceptance, valuation of and attitudes towards genetically modified food: Review and implications for food policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 99-111, April.
  6. Eicher, Carl K. & Maredia, Karim & Sithole-Niang, Idah, 2006. "Crop biotechnology and the African farmer," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 504-527, December.
  7. Paarlberg, Robert L., 2002. "The real threat to GM crops in poor countries: consumer and policy resistance to GM foods in rich countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 247-250, June.
  8. Zerbe, Noah, 2004. "Feeding the famine? American food aid and the GMO debate in Southern Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 593-608, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Falck-Zepeda, Jose Benjamin & Gruère, Guillaume P. & Sithole-Niang, Idah (ed.), 2013. "Genetically modified crops in Africa: Economic and policy lessons from countries south of the Sahara," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 978-0-89629-795-1.
  2. Adenle, Ademola A. & Morris, E. Jane & Parayil, Govindan, 2013. "Status of development, regulation and adoption of GM agriculture in Africa: Views and positions of stakeholder groups," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 159-166.


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