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University of Pretoria (2010)

An Ex-ante economic evaluation of genetically modified cassava in South Africa

Mudombi, Charity Ruramai

Titre : An Ex-ante economic evaluation of genetically modified cassava in South Africa

Auteur : Mudombi, Charity Ruramai

Université de soutenance : University of Pretoria

Grade : MScAgric, Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, 2010

Résumé partiel
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the economic potential and opportunities for introducing Genetically Modified (GM) cassava that is Cassava Mosaic Virus (CMV) resistant and has improved starch properties in South Africa. The level of cassava production in South Africa is limited and thus a study on a new technology for this crop may seem strange. However, with innovations like the CMV resistance trait or amylose free cassava starch, cassava production in South Africa can possibly become more viable and relatively more profitable than competing crops such as maize and potatoes. Various ex ante economic methods and approaches to assessing economic impacts exist in the subject literature : the partial budget approach, cost benefit analysis, consumer and producer or economic surplus approach and the computable general equilibrium (CGE) or simulation model. For the purpose of this study and due to available data, a simple gross margin analysis was applied to analyse the economic profitability of genetically modified cassava in South Africa in comparison to maize and potato. Due to data limitations, this study relies on a synthesis between secondary information from various studies in other African countries and interviews with experts. The information collected was used to assess the potential for genetically modified cassava in South Africa. Secondary information and interviews with experts were used to provide more insights and information relating to the possible opportunities, constraints, performance of the genetically modified events, and production practices for cassava and other competing crops like maize and potato in the country. The gross margin analysis results show that cassava production is not profitable at farm level for both dryland and irrigation scenarios. However, processing cassava into starch results in higher returns from the higher starch output and quality compared to potato and maize. The starch from cassava has many industrial applications. The scenario analysis for GM cassava and infected cassava at 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% expected yield loss showed that the CMV resistant and amylose free GM cassava provides additional benefits due to its better quality and higher starch yields compared to infected varieties. The higher quality starch yields a higher profit making it even more profitable to produce cassava for starch. The results of interviews with subject experts show that cassava production and utilisation has lagged behind other crops in South Africa and the crop is sparingly and informally traded. An analysis of market constraints showed that there is a strong consumer taste preference for maize and other cereals dominating the starch market.

Mots clés : ex ante ; starch ; South Africa ; genetically modified ; cassava ; gross margin

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