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Contextual appraisal of GM cotton diffusion in South Africa

  • Michel Fok


    (Systèmes cotonniers - Systèmes cotonniers en petit paysannat - CIRAD - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement)

  • Marnus Gouse


    (Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development - University of Pretoria)

  • Jean-Luc Hofs


    (Systèmes cotonniers - Systèmes cotonniers en petit paysannat - CIRAD - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement)

  • Johann Kirsten


    (Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development - University of Pretoria)

The bulk of the South African cotton crop is produced by large scale commercial farmers. Therefore it might be misleading to present South Africa's impressive Genetically Modified Cotton (GMC) adoption figures as evidence of successful GMC use by smallholder farmers. The South African cotton sector struggles in an unstable production and market environment and smallholders with limited resources and limited production, managerial and marketing capacity and choice suffer most. The total South African cotton area and number of farmers decreased drastically since the introduction of GMC and this causes observers to question the so-called success story of GMC in South Africa. The South African smallholder experience has shown that technology introduction on its own cannot sustainably increase production; factors like institutional arrangements plays a vital role. Studies have in the past focussed exclusively on the performance of the new technology and the institutional role has been under emphasised. The results of our research complement the existing studies by pointing out low profitability in an unfavourable climatic and institutional context. This reminds us that rain-fed agriculture remains sensitive to climatic hazards and that new technology adoption under these conditions might increase financial risk associated with cotton production.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00176546.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2007
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Publication status: Published in Life Science International Journal, 2007, 1 (4), pp.468-482
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00176546
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  1. William D. McBride & Nora Books, 2000. "Survey evidence on producer use and costs of genetically modified seed," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 6-20.
  2. Matin Qaim & Alain de Janvry, 2003. "Genetically Modified Crops, Corporate Pricing Strategies, and Farmers' Adoption: The Case of Bt Cotton in Argentina," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 814-828.
  3. Gouse, Marnus & Kirsten, Johann F. & Jenkins, Lindie, 2002. "Bt Cotton In South Africa: Adoption And The Impact On Farm Incomes Amongst Small-Scale And Large Scale Farmers," Working Papers 18022, University of Pretoria, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.
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