Hugo De Groote
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Kenya
Zachary M. Gitonga
CIMMYT, currently at the University of Cape Town, South Africa
Simon C. Kimenju
Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Kenya
Kansas State University, USA
Kenyatta University, Kenya
So far, few African countries have accepted genetically modified (GM) crops, despite their high potential for increasing food production. The opinion of African consumers is missing in the debate, especially of those in rural areas. Therefore, a survey was conducted among rural consumers in the major maizegrowing areas of Kenya to gauge their acceptance of GM food. One-third of respondents were aware of GM crops, and their main information source was radio. Most respondents would buy GM maize meal at the same price as conventional maize meal and even pay a premium. Results show that the rural population of Kenya lacks access to relevant information to make informed decisions and contribute to the debate on the use of GM crops in Africa. A concerted, public-policy effort is therefore needed in which the wider use of radio to reach the rural population should be explored. Provided with balanced information, rural consumers show a high degree of acceptance of GM maize.
Key words: Africa, biotechnology, consumer, contingent valuation, GM.