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The adoption of plant biotechnology by commercial cotton producers in South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor Andrew Pampallis en_US
dc.contributor.author Uys, Theunis Johannes Eksteen
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-13T09:43:08Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-13T09:43:08Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-13
dc.date.submitted 2004
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/5538
dc.description M.B.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract The debate over plant biotechnology and genetic engineering (GE) is surrounded with controversy. On the one side of the debate, phrases such as `Frankenfood' and `terminator seed' have been used to describe food and seed resulting from plant biotechnology. On the other hand, Agricultural Scientists see biotechnology and genetic engineering as a solution to keep feeding and clothing the increasing world population with static or reducing world resources. Many farmers in developing countries eke out a living based on the production techniques that are becoming increasingly unaffordable because of increasing inputs cost and are no longer producing enough output to provide adequate access to food. Plant biotechnology holds the potential for increasing the productivity of agriculture in developing countries. New crop varieties are developed which are resistant to insects and are tolerant to certain non-selective herbicides. All these plant biotechnology developments are said to help reduce the cost of inputs, protects yields and reduce environmental contamination with toxic insect sprays. For many commercial farmers, cotton production is the only possibility they have to produce a cash crop but spraying to control insect pests is required several times during the season resulting in high input costs. An alternative to spraying is to introduce a built-in defense into the plant itself to combat insect damage. The introduction of the insecticidal gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) into the cotton plant trough biotechnology, has secured a built-in defense against the most common insect family in cotton namely the lepidopteran caterpillar. Cotton engineered with such genes was introduced into commercial production for the first time in 1996 with over 1.8 million acres planted with transgenic cotton in the US. Following early trials, Bt-cotton has since the 1998/99 growing season been commercialized in South Africa. Since the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) crops, US farmers have rapidly adopted most of them. Analyses by USDA's Economic Research Services (ERS) and others indicate economic benefits to many farmers adopting first-generation GE crops. This research study was carried out to determine to what extend the South African cotton growers embraced this kind of technology through usage thereof and if they benefited as much as other cotton farmers world-wide. The specific research objectives for this study were as follows: An evaluation of the adoption rates and benefits derived from plant biotechnology on a worldwide base through literature. An evaluation of the acceptance and penetration of Bt-cotton amongst the South African commercial cotton growers. To determine the benefits of Bt-cotton to the South African commercial cotton growers. To determine to what extend the South African cotton growers benefited economically through the use of the Bt-cotton trait. To identify segmental differences in the adoption of the Bt-cotton trait amongst commercial cotton growers in South Africa. The main findings of this research indicate that almost three quarters of the cotton hectares surveyed were planted with the Bt-cotton trait and that almost ninety percent of cotton growers surveyed, adopted the Bt-cotton trait in the 2001/2002 season. Comparing the benefits derived from Bt-cotton in South Africa to those in other countries, it can be concluded that the South African commercial cotton growers had equal results. Most of the cotton growers in South Africa experienced yield increases with a substantial reduction in the use of insecticides. This resulted in higher gross margins from Bt-cotton compared to the non-Bt cotton or commercial cotton varieties. The South African commercial cotton grower has benefited agronomically, economically and environmentally through the adoption of the Bt-cotton trait. Future introductions of plant biotechnology traits such as herbicide tolerance will further enhance the production potential of cotton. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Cotton - Biotechnology en_US
dc.subject Plant biotechnology en_US
dc.subject Genetic engineering en_US
dc.title The adoption of plant biotechnology by commercial cotton producers in South Africa en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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